Stealing the Scream
Run Amok Books, September 2019
This novel’s back cover blurb describes the plot as follows: “In 2004, masked thieves stole Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ from an Oslo museum. STEALING THE SCREAM is a literary leaning, humor-laced crime novel that re-imagines the event, offering a tantalizing account of what happened through fictional characters and ending with a tense climax and a satisfying if unexpected ending to the art-world mystery.”
The central character is a very wealthy corporate CEO, Percival, who gives up his position and moves to London along with his house manager, Lucinda, and his chef, Will, to become a painter. Ultimately, he finds a way to have his work seen in major art museums around the world.
The writer of the blurb and I see this book very differently. I see no humor in it. Rather, I see a man whose obsession takes over his life and leads him into a downward spiral if not into madness then at least into a major depression with grandiose features, a man who has no regard for the people he lives with, and no interest in anything other than his painting and his view of himself as an artist. In short, I found him to be an unlikeable character who sees others simply as there to serve him. For these reasons I cannot recommend this novel, but I recognize that there are others who regard Theodore Carter’s writing highly. Accordingly, they might see the “literary leaning, humor-laced” writing that escapes me.
Reviewed by Melinda Drew, August 2019.