A great psychological thriller, centered around a writing group I loved the twists and turns I tried to figure out whodunnit from the start, but was surprised several times as the story unfolded I was also questioning the reliability of the narrator, which made things even interesting Another terrific story from Mr Hartman I highly recommend it Muse of Violence by Bruce Hartman is a riveting murder mystery set in New York with a slice of romance and white collar crime added in As the story opens Will Schaefer an aspiring author suffering from a mental block and writing press releases for Zunax Corporation starts a writing group made up of two other men and four women What he doesn t suspect is that the group is being targeted by a psychopathic killer As the members begin to die, and the mystery takes on a terrifying aspect those untouched begin to become paranoid, each suspecting the other of the heinous crime And, like an Agatha Christie novel they wait to see who will be left alive.In this novel Bruce Hartman ingeniously creates realistic colourful personalities in the writer s group who create imaginative characters in their storylines personifications of who they d like to be or the embodiment of dubious traits they see in the other members For example minimalist and secretive Sara dons the role of the strong, independent, and commandingly beautiful Nika in her stories while quiet and unobtrusive Eleanor becomes a vengeful, betrayed wife painting Jackie as a seductress after her husband Even the characters like Dr Gaston Gaylord de Goncourt Dr G and Martin, one a chess player who gives free advice, and the other Will s lazy, incompetent assistant add spice to a plot that s well written and fascinating Not only does the writer fashion a murder mystery that keeps the reader entranced from the first to the last page, but also blends in blue collar crime when Will s ex girlfriend Zelda s former boyfriend Paul Gratzy is indicted for a trading scheme which could implicate Zunax, the company he works for I smiled at the absurdity of Will s infatuation and thwarted attempts at a romance with Sara, and his continual suspicion of his ex girlfriend Zelda who he depicts as an obnoxious , wilful and bad tempered mathematical genius This novel is delightfully different from other murder mysteries and I thoroughly enjoyed it, including the twist at the end The only criticism I might have is the addition of Sara s journal entries throughout which I didn t think added to the plot, but certainly didn t detract from it either This is a novel worth reading. A hard to put down book I love how the author had you guessing until the end for a couple things going on in the book. Good bookYou people should just read this book yourselves and write your own review on this novel yourself and I really enjoyed reading this book very much so Shelley MA Being trueisn t that what fiction is all about Yes, it is Whether the genre is mystery, horror, fantasy or science fiction, unless there is enough truth for the story to hang from, it will not work Bruce Hartman s The Muse of Violence is a delight to read despite the pages being littered with corpses Evocative of Agatha Christie s And Then There Were None, we watch the decimation of a small New York writing group as one after another is murdered The group is reminiscent of my nightmare Creative Writing college class years ago, where I wanted to murder my classmates as we mercilessly critiqued each other, so it was difficult for me to like the characters who resembled my tormentors Yet, at first, it seems that Hartman really does not want us to like anyone Seemingly unreliable narrators, reinventions of lives by several members and a suspect journal that contributes to the lack of character trust makes the mystery difficult to solve a good thing So whose life is Fiction Whose life is Non fiction Is there a difference and if so, does it matter This wonderfully complex novel shines with dashes of humor and, to me, was a dream read that I consumed in two sittings I enjoyed this book, though I like Mr Hartman s The Rules of Dreaming The Muse of Violence is slower reading than his previous book yet, it s definitely worth taking the time to read.This work tells the story of a man named Will who starts and leads a writers group in NYC As the story develops, the writers group becomes plagued with both members violence filled story readings as well as actual violence surrounding the group Will and the other members of his group stop and start down incorrect investigation paths several times, and Mr Hartman really keeps the reader guessing For me, the person that turned out to be at the center of the violence came as quite a surprise, which I enjoy in a mystery suspense book.I liked the intelligence and dry wit in Mr Hartman s writing As in The Rules of Dreaming, he again writes for the intellectual reader and that s a treat in today s world of often shallow fiction His observations on characters behaviors and frequent lack of self awareness are spot on and easy to relate to And, he also offers keen insight into human nature and its subconscious drivers.I found some of the theories presented on numbers, randomness, and the far reaching possible affects of both to be quite fascinating and seemingly very well researched In fact, it made me want to look further into the theories after finishing reading the book.I would recommend this book for those interested in mystery and suspense, stories related to the process of fiction writing, and books centered around New York City I look forward to reading Mr Hartman s next work of fiction Will Schaefer hosts once a week a writers group in his apartment, to which each of the aspiring writers take their stories and read them before the others Will is the mediator in this group Suddenly, one of the women of the group is murdered, but soon others will follow The surviving members in the group are convinced that one of them is the killer, but they keep on with their meetings, with the idea that life must go on as usual Will falls in love with one of the readers in the group, Sarah, but this does not prevent him from thinking that maybe she is the killer, and the same thought crosses her mind The surviving group members have to find out who the killer is before they end up murdered as well Interesting plot but it did not manage to catch too much of my attention Boring at times. Sure, there was murder, and questions about who done it, but it seemed about the people and the mystery of life I didn t care for the Wall Street angle, though I didn t think I would like it at first, but the author sucked me in His musings about the evil within us battling with our good natures, and his reference to Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, which I just finished, was an interesting connection. I would guess that about half of the self published digital fiction nowadays consists of books that consciously or unconsciously try to mimic the style or stories of a very successful writer You can usually tell by the blurb for the book, which often proclaims that it is for fans of J.K Rowling or Lee Child or Stephen King or whoever So it s refreshing to come across something that s quite original, such as The Muse of Violence, by Bruce Hartman Even if the author stumbles a bit from time to time, this book is never dull or predictable The Muse of Violence is to a certain extent a murder mystery in a most unusual setting, a writer s club, where, every week, a group of aspiring fiction writers get together, read their works in progress and critique each other The group was started a few months earlier by Will Schaefer, a corporate executive who taught a night class in creative writing at which the group members were students Unfortunately, the group is now shrinking through most unnatural attrition, as its members start dying under mysterious circumstances Some of the members think that one of them is a murderer, and they try to search through the various writing samples most of which turn out to be thinly veiled events from the writer s own life to determine who might have some homicidal instincts.That s not the only mystery in The Muse of Violence however, because as Will is busy trying to find out what s gone wrong on his night job, his daytime job is in trouble as well His company is under government investigation for financial misconduct, the CEO and some of the key executives seem to have vanished, and Will can tell that there s probably some type of corporate hanky panky afoot And, to make matters even complicated, Will, who has a string of bad romances behind him, starts to get involved with one of the members of the group, Sara, which could also turn out badly if she winds up being either the killer or another victim.From a mystery standpoint, The Muse of Violence is pretty good Author Hartman does a good job of maintaining suspense, even though one might think that as the number of group members dwindles, the identity of the killer should become easy to guess It s not, however, and neither is the answer to what s going on at Will s company The solution to the mysteries does strain credibility somewhat, but it s not as ridiculous as in some books I ve read, and by the time the author reveals the killer in a bit clich d of a manner , readers will probably go along with it.What makes The Muse of Violence stand out, however, at least in my mind, are the large number of literary meta references in the book This is a book about writers, so Will and the others in the group spend a good bit of time reading stories aloud and critiquing them then trying to ferret out indicia of possible guilt This allows the author to have fun by setting up flawed writing, then tearing it down In addition, Will, who serves as the book s narrator, waxes philosophical on numerous occasions When you write fiction, you try to find the truth by shaping a perfect falsehood, an invented universe without anomalies or chance derivations He even has Schaefer spend time playing chess in a city park against a rather erudite street person who provides him with feedback on his theories and writing The Muse of Violence is not the type of fast paced mystery some readers like, nor does it have characters doing cutesy things to pass the time between killings Instead, while it s fairly leisurely paced, the book offers food for thought on life and writing and creates a fairly engrossing murder mystery thanks to the device of the group trying to figure out the killer through the content of their stories Everything Hartman attempts doesn t work, but enough does to make The Muse of Violence an entertaining musing on violence and other topics. A Chilling Series Of Deaths Strikes A Writers Group In New York, Leaving The Remaining Members To Face The Suspicion And Finally The Terrifying Certainty That One Of Them Is A Psychopathic Killer Is A Sequel To Agatha Christie S And Then There Were None Being Played Out In Their Lives
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- 257 pages
- The Muse of Violence
- Bruce Hartman
- 08 December 2019 Bruce Hartman