Title: Red Canvas
(A Lise Norwood Mystery #1)

Author: Andrew Nance
Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Crime
First published: May 4th 2020
Publisher: Red Adept Publishing, LLC
Finished reading: December 25th 2020
Pages: 276

“Sometimes the harder the life lessons, the better a person emerged.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I’ve been trying to get rid of my backlog of ARCs so I can start the new year with a clean slate… Red Canvas is the last of them, and just in time before 2021 too! I’m not sure why it took me longer than expected to actually pick up this first book of a new crime series, as I always love a good crime thriller and I liked the sound of an art element in the story. I’m glad I finally did get to meet new main character Lise Norwood though!

Red Canvas is part crime thriller and part PI thriller, all doused with plenty of art references and multiple pieces of art play a key role in the plot. I really liked that we have the best of both worlds in the main character: Lise Norwood is both a former art student and a PI, giving the story a fresh angle instead of just focusing on the detective investigation of a serial killer. Not that I don’t enjoy those type of stories, but having both angles in the same story made Red Canvas that much more interesting… On top of this, we get a glimpse inside the head of a serial killer too with the The Artist chapters, and boy, do we have another twisted serial killer character on our hands!

The art element really gave the story a refreshing angle. It isn’t just a prop for the killings, as art has a deeper meaning and is represented in multiple ways in the plot. The missing napkin with a masterpiece, the murders, the suspects, multiple character background references… And even the title of course! It was interesting to see the plot develop over time and try to mislead you along the way… The different POVs will slowly come together as the story escalates towards a big finale. And there were without doubt twists I didn’t see coming!

As for the writing… While as a whole it is without doubt engaging, I did have some issues with the tone in certain parts. Especially when things turn steamy or the dialogues in general… There was just something too blunt or crude about it all that started to irritate me, but this might just be because I’m having a hunch Red Canvas would suit a male target audience better. That said, I still had a great time with this first book of a new series, and you will find plenty of action and suspense before you reach that final page.


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