The premise is fascinating for art history lovers. A prominent artist attacks a canvas in the National Gallery. Why? A psychiatrist attempts to solve the mystery. Sounds interesting, right?
After a third of the book, the characters are so reprehensible, so self-involved, so unlikable that I struggled to finish. The psychiatrist throws proper professional ethics out the window and even begins a affair with his patient's lover!. The artist's mistress, besides being a self-absorbed, immature twit (waxing eloquent as she stares at herself naked in the mirror repeatedly) utters some of the worst dialogue this side of a Harlequin novel. UGH!
Then there is the artist whose wife and kids are afterthoughts to his own needs and wants. Periodically he might mention them as if they are plants that need periodic watering or pets he wished he could leave at the kennel. "Yes, I have children". That is it. He begins an affair with the above mentioned mistress only to have her finally identify his complete lack of empathy for anyone or anything save for a mystery woman. All else if flotsam and jetsam to him. I found that I felt a real dislike for this group.
The only real human is the artist's former wife who struggled through his moody navel gazing and lack of hygiene. She stands alone raising her children, even proving financial support for her ex-husband's care.
When the mystery to his attack is revealed it is more of a "uh-huh" moment than a "ah-hah" moment. Enjoyed The Historian, but this is a real slog with characters that make you cringe.