disclosure – i received an e-galley of this novel from curiosity quills press in exchange for an honest review.
los angeles painter max higgins has a secret for his work: every painting contains the face of a missing person. he captures these faces and provides them with a new life, lived through his painting, and one day one of the faces is recognized. this premise sets the stage for mike robinson’s negative space.
described as a mystery/thriller and/or sci-fi/fantasy, the initial promise of this novel never pays off for the reader. the mystery of the faces in the paintings is forgotten in favor of a surface exploration of max’s relationship with a recently discovered half-sister and her problems during and after a weekend trip to find their father. add in the private detective and the patron of the s&m house and max’s story gets lost. in the midst of all those events, the rodney king trial and verdict hover like an ineffectual ghost wanting to be more than it is yet not knowing how.
there’s just so much filler going on in negative space that the initial idea gets shunted to the side and forgotten, which is a shame because this novel had the potential to be a really fantastic story with a really incredible idea.
overall rating: two out of five stars