Framed and Burning: Lisa Brunette
Cat McCormick and her grandmother Grace have formed an alliance by created Amazing Grace investigations. Back for the second time and even stronger these two dreamslippers try to uncover the reason why a well-known painter and artist were burned alive. Donnie Hinds was an outstanding protégé of her Uncle Mick who as a result is the prime suspect of the police because he refuses go give them an alibi for the time of death. Cat is smart and demands the police reports and autopsy results in order to investigate the murder but the two detectives in charge stymie her. Looking carefully at Mick’s relationships she uncovers Jenny, Donnie’s ex-girlfriend with her own shady past and present as well as another artist Candace who creates her own art and who is on her suspect list too after being interviewed by Grace. But, Cat has her own demons to and crosses to bear as she has still not gotten over the death of her love and childhood friend, Lee Stone and often has a lucid dream recreating and reliving his final moments feeling guilty that she somehow was responsible for his death. Slipping into her Uncle’s dreams she uncovers something about the accelerant and the way the murder was committed that draws her to think he might be guilty but is he and how is she going to prove otherwise?
Mick finds himself stuck in Candace’s dreams and reliving some of her childhood with her mother. Why did it appear that she was abused and in need of rescuing? Why does he think she tried to kill him and set the first fire? In reality she did set the fire to ruin his studio but did she want to kill him too?
At the same time Cat dreams about Lee, slips back into her Uncle’s dreams along with Grace who slips into hers and things get complicated all around. As Grace and her boyfriend Ernesto also have their own demons to deal with and she helps herself to his thoughts and dreams and things get complicated as the case does too. Cat questions several artists as does Grace. Mick accuses Candace of stealing a special shell that she hid somewhere. Searching for it, finding it she confesses to torching his studio and is arrested on the spot as the police sergeant was shadowing him and heard it all. But, did she kill Donnie and why does Mick relive what he thinks happened to him and blames it on himself? A visit to Candace in jail changes Mick’s perspective on whether she committed both fires and he realizes that she needs some serious mental counseling. Bringing us to Canon who is a painter who created the letter as a hoax against Mick so that the magazine would never recognize him that it was sent too and hoping that it would ruin him publically. Not admitting at first that he sent it to Art in Life Magazine, Chester Canon put on a show for Pris, Cat, Mick and Alvarez the cop in charge, but when Pris stepped into the questioning the truth comes out but did he kill Donnie? What did they find in his garage that might incriminate him? Who was the killer really after and why? Added in how did Calvin get to be so popular and what his writing went viral? As Cat starts to get to know her new friend Jacob still feeling unsure about a relationship since losing Lee, Grace latches on to Canon and is making it her mission to find out more about his work, just where he really was the night of the murder and what else he might be hiding. Why is it that he feels threatened when she comes around and questions him? What does his wife Louise know that she is not revealing? Cat buries herself in the case and when Alvarez and she connect and share information something that happens lets them know that Candace might not be held for either murder and that Mick might have blown their case with his visit.
Things take on a different turn when Cat, Grace and Mick revisit each of his paintings those lost in the fire and those still hanging in various studios or in his own. Some take on different meanings but one would ignite something that would cause the police to think he was into child porn just by looking at this graphically depicted painting. But, first they meet with everyone that was at a party that might have had some reason to destroy Mick and cause Donnie’s death. Even more they questioned Canon dealing with his crude teaching methods that were debasing to some and ignited energy by complimenting others. But, the ones he praised had little talent and Mick who was outstanding received the brunt of his criticism letting readers wonder if Canon wished he had that talent and wanted to deflate Mick’s ego. Added in his daughter Maggie is dancing for the Cunningham troupe but is only a fair to mediocre dancer and although she tries to please her father if you enter the dream that Grace entered you’d learn the harsh realities of that relationship. Fires burn throughout the dreams in many cases paintings are destroyed and lives are lost but is this real? Donnie died but was he the intended victim? His parents mourn him and helped sprinkled his ashes in his favorite spot but just why can’t Mick fill the void and will he ever come to terms with his friend’s death?
Cat, Grace and Mick are all on the same page to solve the case but the police now believe that Mick deals or dealt in child porn and are questioning him but are they right based on one painting? There are secrets and lies all around as Serena a friend of Mick’s as they look at everyone who was at the party including the host and his wife. Jacob and Cat get closer but will he move to San Francisco and work for his uncle and be just hours away from her? What about Ernesto the man Grace is involved with? Why is she thinking something sinister is about and why has he been so curious about the investigation? What about the child porn paintings and how did Mick link it to someone else? There is a lot of backstabbing in the art world that author Lisa Brunette has created for us and has given us a direct view of including art lessons, different types of paintings, styles, artists and several who lack luster and self-esteem and self-worth hoping to take down those that do. But, who killed Donnie? Why?
Added in the FBI comes into the case questioning goes on and we learn how one of Ernesto’s clients launders his money to hide his porn business through his art collections. Things turn into a turmoil as Pris needs to come to terms with Ernesto’s dealings some corrupt, some not on the up and up and a client who he claims he did not know exactly what he was into but can anyone belief him anymore? Langholm was using his art to launder his child-porn money but it goes deeper. Just what role does Serena Jones play in this? What did the Langholm’s do for her and what secrets in her past were revealed that might destroy her life even more? When the truth comes out and the final veil is lifted over the paintings that no one wants to see what lies underneath the canvas is not a picture of anything perfect, beautiful and art worthy but someone that prides himself/herself in selling pedophilic material and making tons of money from it. When Cat finds the uncovers the sites and another person linked to Mick is revealed just who killed Donnie and why you won’t believe? Justifying his/her actions claiming to set fire to the studio was to help someone is just a ruse. A life was lost and a career up in smoke and the primary reason: GREED! The art world suffered as a result of this fire, another because someone set Mick’s studio aflame but in the end we learned that that many valuable paintings were lost because they were FRAMED AND BURNING! Once again author Lisa Brunette presents an inside look into dreams, dreamslipping and how they can help create anger, love, intrigue and in this case well you have to read it to find out more about what happens to Cat and Jacob, Mick and his sister Amazing Grace and of course the surprising ending that will keep you wondering what’s next! Some mysteries are simple but this one is more complex and keeps you guessing as it did the police, Cat, Grace and Mick until you see and look closely at the painting to find out what you missed! With a frustrated police sergeant named Alvarez, FBI agent Strickland and three smart dreamslippers and one really smart Cat, criminals have no possible chance to escape and watch out your dreams might be the next one they visit!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ magazine