Norelle Done posted her recent review of Painted Black at her Seattle Wrote blog site. She gave the book four out of five stars, which is a win by anyone’s calculations. Here’s how she tallied up the score.
Amidst frozen corpses, a funeral home scandal, and each character dealing with their own ghosts and closet skeletons, this novel comes down to a key point – the people that live on the streets are mostly forgotten when they disappear.
- Plot: Painted Black is easy to follow, interesting, and gets you hooked – I was drawn into Lexie’s plight and found Jo’s investigation easy to keep up with. The story flowed well and fit together like a puzzle, and it didn’t feel too coincidental either. Star Awarded.
- Characters: I felt like Deb went 75 percent of the way with the characters. There was back story, but it wasn’t resolved or fully explained, such as what really happened with Jo’s dad, or Chris’ family, or more into why Jack is involved with the homeless. Maybe there will be more in future Jo Sullivan books, but I was slightly left hanging with this one. Half-Star Awarded.
- Setting: The setting for Painted Black is supposed to be Chicago, but I found myself feeling like it was Seattle more than once. Granted, I have never been to Chicago, and all of the Seattle-based books I read probably tainted things a little bit, but I feel like more could have been done to make it feel like Chicago. However, the book did have the trait of feeling like it could be any city, and with the focus on the homeless, it could help the reader to adopt the story for their own city. Half-Star Awarded.
- Originality: It’s definitely a unique story. From the characters to Deb’s intimate understanding of what the homeless face, Painted Black is a one-of-a-kind story. Star Awarded.
- Style: I noticed one or two errors, but none were glaring or distracting. Star Awarded.
That’s a total of Four Stars. Borys depicts the street life and struggles in an engaging, interesting way that draws you in and helps give a little perspective into the lives of the homeless. Maybe the next time you see someone huddled in a door frame or sleeping on a park bench, they won’t be quite so invisible.