The Empress of Tempera
Alex Dolan

Good art can make a person cry; great art can make a person kill.

Paire Anjou came to New York to be an artist, but thus far has only achieved an artist boyfriend—the enfant terrible of the art world, Derek Rosewood. On her way to his show, where his controversial paintings will be on display, Paire sees an older man on the sidewalk, looking into the window of the Fern Gallery, gazing intently at a painting, and sobbing. As Paire approaches him, the man stabs himself in the chest.

The painting that inspired the suicide is a one-off for the gallery—the last-known surviving work of a dissident Chinese artist named Qi. An empress, dressed in red, sits imperiously and stares out at the viewer. Paire is but one of the people who stare back, joined by hundreds, from around the world, flocking to the Fern Gallery to observe and obsess over the Empress. The Empress inspires lust and panic, rage and greed. When Paire starts digging into the backstory of the painting, and its artist, she unravels a tale of profound betrayal and a vengeance that spans generations.

Uncaged Review: Paire Anjou gives herself a new name and look to study art in New York. She has the perfect job and is going out with an artist Derek Rosewood, whose paintings are getting shown at the Fern Gallery. There’s also another painting getting showcased called The Empress. This painting is unlike anything anybody has seen before. It turns people into murderers. Paire is obsessed like the others with this painting.

The storyline surrounding the painting and Paire Anjou background history, was very interesting to read. I would have liked to have seen a peek at this painting myself. But the characters in the book were very well thought out and interesting. The way one of the characters meets his end was a great way to have someone die.

I really enjoyed this book and it was a dramatic read. An art heist gone wrong meets murder with the criminally insane. What’s not to love in this book. Reviewed by Jennifer

(violence, murder, sexual activity)

5 Stars