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
Inside the Author of What Meets the Eye:
I’m so excited to share that Alex Kenna, author of What Meets the Eye visited with me recently. Here are some highlights from our conversation.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My book is about a struggling PI who investigates the death of a famous artist and uncovers a trail of organized crime, art forgery, and murder. The story was very much inspired by my background as an artist and an attorney.
I have been obsessed with painting and contemporary art for as long as I can remember. I studied art and art history in college, then worked as an art critic after I graduated. When I have time, which is rare these days, I still paint on the side.
A few years back, I saw a fascinating documentary on an art forger named Mark Landis, who makes fake paintings and gives them away to art institutions as a game. That got me interested in the topic of art forgery. Then I discovered a nerdy British TV series called “Fake or Fortune.” In every episode, someone has an art piece that may or may not be a priceless masterpiece. An art dealer and journalist pair up to find out if it’s genuine, while the owner waits with bated breath. I was completely hooked and binged the show like it was the newest Netflix hit. That got me thinking about art forgery as a potential background for a murder mystery.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
My book is told through a number of different perspectives. Multiple points of view can be polarizing, but I really like them because it lets you dig deeper and explore the inner workings of more than one character. With that said, if I were going to start from scratch, I’d probably add another chapter or two from the perspective of my victim, Margot, and eliminate one or two chapters from secondary characters.
There are also a couple updates I might make just because the world has changed in the last few years. I started my book in 2019. In the book, I don’t specify when the story takes place. But based on context, it’s very much 2018/2019. If I were going to start over, I might try to set it in a post-Covid world.
Who has impacted your life the most and in what way?
Not to be corny, but hands down, my husband. I could not have written this book without him. We both work, and he took on the lion’s share of housework to give me time to write. Now that we have a kid, he watches the baby all the time so I can work on a sequel. He’s my first reader and gives me honest feedback.
What event in your life do you remember first when asked for a humorous story?
I’m a pretty awkward person, which can give rise to a lot of cringey but funny situations. Most recently, I was at the park with my toddler pushing him on the swing and he asked where the moon was. It wasn’t up yet, so I told him it was hiding.
Then the little boy on the swing next to us said, “maybe it’s the apocalypse.” I have a soft spot for morbid children – probably since I used to be one. I was the kid who loved Halloween and devoured all the Goosebumps books. So, I played along and said, “if it was the apocalypse, wouldn’t we all be dead?”
He looked at me strangely and said, “apocalypse is when the moon goes behind the sun.” The kid meant eclipse, and I was the weirdo at the park talking to an eight-year-old about death.
What a funny story! 😂 I wish I’d been there! It’s exactly something I’d have said. Thanks for visiting! Stop by again soon!
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:
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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