The “Great Recession” derailed me terribly as well, but now I am back with a novel which I think will move you. Painter of the Heavens is literary suspense, dealing with a woman who begins a love affair with a charismatic fellow who turns out to be a con artist. We don’t know if he is planning any evil moves against her, but he is definitely hatching a fraud plot, specifically a forgery of a historical document that he believes will net millions at auction. He needs an accomplice for this particular scheme, and his eyes turn to Penny.
He is the manager of an indie bookstore in an old house in the woods outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Penny’s home town.) She meets him quite by chance when she discovers the store while out driving around. Lyle’s impact on her is heavy and hypnotic from the start. She finds him even more compelling and charismatic as she gets to know him, during a series of dates that unfold in the first third of the book. Penny is hopeful for a relationship, as he is sexy, alluring, and intellectually interesting. (He is a poet, and six original poems appear in the book.) Unfortunately, hints of a dark side to his personality start turning up, here and there. He was eccentric at the start, but disturbing statements and moods appear along the way. Penny shrugs it off, as the good times are sweet.
I envisioned Lyle as a deeply conflicted personality, as are most people who turn to crime. He is a somewhat unusual, exotic mentality. Penny I see as being someone you might actually meet, at least here in the United States, and probably around the world. She has a poignantly simple desire to live a fulfilling life. She wants to be “part of something,” she says. She wants a happy love life, but also to be part of something beyond that. Her needs are quite healthy. The pathos of the novel is her struggle to attain these basic needs. The suspense of the novel is that we don’t know just how bad this bad guy is. The point of view of the novel is entirely Penny’s. We don’t know what’s kicking around in Lyle’s head. He seems enormously suspicious, even menacing, as time goes by. Is this scammer capable of genuine love? He claims he loves her, and wants to share his life with her, always. These matters are unresolved as the plot unfolds.
Painter of the Heavens is character-driven noir fiction, “A Novel of Crime and the Heart.” It is presently available only in digital format, but you can read the first 25 pages for free on its Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F849FMM
A friend convinced me to pluck three of the scarier short stories from my first book and release them as an eBook on Kindle. Thus, here you will find the trilogy of The Statuary Cats : http://goo.gl/NHNW9M
Management assumes no responsibility for any fright-induced heart attacks.
Meanwhile I am hard at work on my next novel, hoping for a 2014 launch. Certainly there will be no more seven-year droughts in literary output from this desk, I guarantee. Please follow me on Twitter, @BartStewart1, and scroll through my cantankerous blog at http://BartStewart.com.
And remember, ultimately, we’re all indies.
- Bart Stewart