The Black Painting by Neil Olson

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Neil Olson lives in New York City. The Black Painting is his second novel and was published in January 2018. Learn more about the author, his book, as well as ratings and reviews on the latter.

Neil Olson was born in 1964. He is the author of two novels and a play. His first novel, The Icon, is a story of art theft and family intrigue while the second, The Black Painting, concerns the unsolved theft of a haunted self-portrait by Goya; as to his play, it’s titled Dealers.

Neil also works in the publishing industry.

As Bruce Desilva says in The Washington Times of January 9, 2018, “The Black Painting is a complex tale that is at once a riveting psychological thriller, a serious dissection of a dysfunctional family and an exploration of the power of art to change lives.

Olson cleverly shifts the point of view among his well-drawn cast of characters, most of whom can’t be relied on to tell readers the truth. Particularly intriguing are the four grown grandchildren trapped by their family’s history and a dogged private detective who was hired to track down the painting years ago and was never able to let the case go.”

Let’s take a quick look now at the book presentation.


“A riveting psychological thriller, a serious dissection of a dysfunctional family and an exploration of the power of art to change lives.” —Associated Press

“A fast-paced psychological thriller with a fascinating set of characters. … A real page-turner.” -B.A. Shapiro, author of The Art Forger

An atmospheric literary mystery about an infamous painting rumored to be cursed—and the family torn apart by its disappearance.

There are four cousins in the Morse family: perfect Kenny, the preppy West Coast lawyer; James, the shy but brilliant medical student; his seductive, hard-drinking sister Audrey; and Teresa, youngest and most fragile, haunted by the fear that she has inherited the madness that possessed her father.

Their grandfather summons them to his mansion at Owl’s Point. None of them have visited the family estate since they were children, when a prized painting disappeared: a self-portrait by Goya, rumored to cause madness or death upon viewing. Afterward, the family split apart amid the accusations and suspicions that followed its theft.

Any hope that their grandfather planned to make amends evaporates when Teresa arrives to find the old man dead, his horrified gaze pinned upon the spot where the painting once hung. As the family gathers and suspicions mount, Teresa hopes to find the reasons behind her grandfather’s death and the painting’s loss. But to do so she must uncover ugly family secrets and confront those who would keep them hidden.

A masterful, deftly plotted novel, The Black Painting explores the profound power that art, and the past, hold over our lives.

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One comment

  1. Neil Olson’s latest book is an entertaining dark mystery, a must read in the genre. I enjoyed the plot very much as well as the characters. You are never bored reading this kind of books. All in all, I think this fast-paced story would make a pretty good movie too. I recommend it!

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