What Meets the Eye
by Alex Kenna
January 9 - February 3, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
From debut author Alex Kenna comes a pulse-pounding tapestry of secrets, retribution, and greed for fans of Jeffrey Archer.
Kate Myles was a promising Los Angeles police detective, until an accident and opioid addiction blew up her family and destroyed her career. Struggling to rebuild her life, Kate decides to try her hand at private detective work—but she gets much more than she bargained for when she takes on the case of a celebrated painter found dead in a downtown loft.
When Margot Starling’s body was found, the cause of death was assumed to be suicide. Despite her beauty, talent, and fame, she struggled with a host of demons. But as Kate digs deeper, she learns that Margot had a growing list of powerful enemies—among them a shady art dealer who had been selling forged works by Margot. Kate soon uncovers a dirty trail that leads straight into the heart of the city’s deadly underworld.
Margot died for her art—and if Kate doesn’t tread lightly, she could be the next to get brushed out.
Praise for What Meets the Eye:
"[An] impressive debut . . . Sara Paretsky fans will be pleased."
"Alex Kenna is the real deal, a true talent. Her prose is stunningly eloquent and characterization masterful."
Crime Fiction Critic
"A righteous, painful debut. More, please."
"Dragging the world of high art down into the muck of Los Angeles' criminal underbelly, Alex Kenna has created an engaging mystery buoyed by the heart of its heroine, Kate Myles. Trying to win against stacked decks in her professional and personal lives, Myles' resilience and hustle makes her an easy hero to stand up and cheer for."
James Queally, author of the Russel Avery novels and Los Angeles Times crime reporter
"With the sure hand of an old master, Alex Kenna’s debut blurs the line between catharsis and crime in this gritty and nimble noir mystery. When a routine investigation into the apparent suicide of art superstar Margot Starling becomes anything but, down-on-her-luck PI Kate Myles must square herself up for the fight of her life or lose it all. Entertaining and provocative, What Meets the Eye reminds us that truth often comes with a price tag much higher—and deadlier—than anything Sotheby's could ever hope to fetch at auction."
Katie Lattari, author of Dark Things I Adore
"Kenna gives us the LA crime story we want—a fronded, sun-beaten carousel of depravity and murder, all laced up with tight plotting, sharply hewn characters, and a gripping, original story."
Joseph Schneider, author of the Tully Jarsdel Mysteries
"A suspicious death dismissed as suicide leads PI Kate Myles deep into a web of blackmail and deceit, set against an intriguing backdrop of shady dealings in the art world. An all too human character, Kate is determined to piece together the wreckage of her life and career, and salvage her fractured relationship with her daughter. With clever twists & turns, and a host of convincing suspects along the way, the plot delivers a satisfying ending, but leaves us with tantalizing hints of more to come from Kate…"
Julie Cameron, author of Nameless Acts of Cruelty
Published by: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: December 2022
Number of Pages: 288
ISBN: 9781639101849 (ISBN10: 1639101845)
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BookShop.org | Goodreads | Penguin Random House
Read an excerpt:
Absorbing mystery featuring a female PI who was a successful LAPD detective before being sidelined by a car accident.
What Meets the Eye is the first entry in the Kate Myles private detective series and the debut novel for author Alex Kenna. With an engaging and sympathetic main character and a stellar plot, the book grabbed me from the start, and I didn’t want to put it down!
The detective on the case, Kate Myles, has a heck of a tragic backstory. Injured in an on-duty accident, she’s still not fully healed physically. Kate is still mentally working through what happened to her and coming to terms with her new future, unable to continue to work for the LAPD. She became addicted to the pain meds she was prescribed during her recovery, and her attorney husband used this during their divorce to win custody of their small daughter.
John was not the supportive spouse he could have been during her struggle with pain and later addiction; he was already involved with a colleague at work. He’s also a controlling and petty sort who manipulates Kate by withholding or curtailing her weekends with their daughter. But I liked how Kate had dug herself out of her addiction, had gotten her PI license, and was trying to rebuild her life. Kate is strong-willed, determined, and doesn’t give up. Her investigation is top drawer, and I liked how she is able to reach out to former LAPD colleagues for assistance and reciprocate when she can. She has a good, solid reputation she can still trade on.
The case is an intriguing one and has some unique aspects to it. The art world setting was exotic and fresh, with many big personalities involved. I liked how the author brought in several points of view in addition to Kate, and I enjoyed how the backstories were presented in flashback vignettes. The writing style was easy to read, and the story just flowed. I was swept up in Kate’s investigation and only looked up after I’d read more than half the book.
I recommend WHAT MEETS THE EYE to mystery readers who enjoy detective fiction with a strong female protagonist or an art world setting.
Alex Kenna is a lawyer, writer, and amateur painter based in Los Angeles. Before law school, Alex studied painting and art history. She also worked as a freelance culture writer and sold art in a gallery. Originally from Washington DC, Alex lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son, and giant schnauzer, Zelda. When she’s not writing Alex can be found exploring Southern California, toddler-wrangling, and playing string instruments badly.
Catch Up With Our Author:
Twitter - @AlexKenna9
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