The Brutal Art begins when art dealer, Ethan Muller discovers a large number of pictures in an abandoned New York apartment. The pictures were the discovery of a lifetime:
Electrified, unnerved, I stared for six or seven minutes, a long time to look at a sheet of 8 1/2-by-11 paper; and before I could censor myself, I decided that whoever had drawn this was sick. Because the composition had a psychotic quality, the fever of action taken to warm oneself from the chill of solitude.
Ethan soon realises that he has stumbled across the work of a murderer, and tries to use the pictures to solve the 40-year-old crime.
The first third of the book was OK, as although the characters failed to engage me, the plot was interesting enough to pull me onwards. As the book progressed, I began to lose interest; the plot petered out to a virtual standstill, and chapters about Ethan’s past made the book seem dis-jointed.
There seemed to be too much arguing over how much everyone was going to pay for these paintings, and not enough crime-solving action.
I was really disappointed.