The Poison Artist

The Poison Artist

Book - 2016
Average Rating:
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"An electrifying read... I haven't read anything so terrifying since Red Dragon ." --Stephen King

"Patient, stylish and incredibly suspenseful"--Lee Child

"Magnificent, thoroughly unnerving...I dare you to look away." --Justin Cronin

A gripping tale of obsession and deadly mystery, where the secrets of salvation and the most devastating desires are all written in blood

Dr. Caleb Maddox is a San Francisco toxicologist studying the chemical effects of pain. After a bruising breakup with his girlfriend, he's out drinking whiskey when a hauntingly seductive woman appears by his side. Emmeline whispers to Caleb over absinthe, gets his blood on her fingers and then brushes his ear with her lips as she says goodbye. He must find her.

As his search begins, Caleb becomes entangled in a serial-murder investigation. The police have been fishing men from the bay, and the postmortems are inconclusive. One of the victims vanished from the bar the night Caleb met Emmeline. When questioned, Caleb can't offer any information, nor does he tell them he's been secretly helping the city's medical examiner, an old friend, study the chemical evidence on the victims' remains. The search for the killer soon entwines with Caleb's hunt for Emmeline, and the closer he gets to each, the more dangerous his world becomes.

From the first pages up to the haunting, unforgettable denouement, The Poison Artist is a gripping thriller about obsession and damage, about a man unmoored by an unspeakable past and an irresistible woman who offers the ultimate escape.
Publisher: Boston :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, ©2016.
ISBN: 9780544520561
Branch Call Number: FICTION MOO

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KlayDyer
Apr 16, 2017

Comparisons to Hitchcock are on point, but this is much more the territory of Edgar Allan Poe with its blend of elements from the classic gothic, dark romanticism, science and pseudoscience, and the macabre with its inherent emphasis on psychological depth and emotional disconnections. Add to this the fact that Poe was, many scholars suggest, a man fond of absinthe...
At the same time, however, Moore proves himself a superb storyteller as well as skilled writer with an eye for subtlety and detail, a strong sense of atmosphere, and a master's touch with the rhythm of narrative. Was the ending a surprise? No. Did it matter at all? No. Moore makes the journey from beginning to end one well worth the effort.

The comparisons to Alfred Hitchcock and Thomas Harris aren't far off the mark. I might also add Kathy Reichs because of the forensic aspects, but you won't know right away which characters to trust in this thriller. The author does a nice job revealing details a little at a time...just enough information to keep you guessing, and the ending is fantastic.

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Sabrinasaurus
Mar 13, 2016

Seven drowned men have been found in the San Francisco Bay in recent months, and while most people think they're accidental deaths, the M.E. thinks it's murder. Meanwhile, his friend Caleb, a toxicologist, is nursing literal and emotional wounds in a bar when he notices a mysterious woman who quickly captures his imagination. His search for her borders on obsession, but both of them are hiding poisonous secrets that only slowly come to light as the investigation into the drownings continues. A dark, creepy, twisting novel, The Poison Artist is "Hitchcock-esque" (Publishers Weekly).

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