A Novel of Crime and the Heart

Just Published: Painter of the Heavens



A Novel of Crime and the Heart,” Painter of the Heavens by Bart Stewart goes inside the mind of a woman as she is drawn into the bizarre fraud scheme of an eccentric man she is dating. Penny doesn’t know going in that Lyle is a con artist. His personality had seemed slightly strange from the start, but charismatic and alluring as well.
Only after bonding with him does she learn that the “business plan,” which was too sensitive for him to talk about, is in fact an outrageous forgery plot. He needs an accomplice for this caper, and sees Penny as being perfect for the role.

Penny Sturdevant is in flux in her life.
Just turning thirty as the decade of the 1980s turns into the ’90s, she has taken a leap into the unknown, divorcing her well-placed husband because he had become loveless, distant, and dull. Coming from a background of financial struggles, she feels the insecurities swirling around her after this big move. She dreams of turning the page, getting off of the sidetrack, and being “part of something.” Her old circle of friends, and her impoverished parents, aren’t much support for her in this time of transition.
One day, on a random whim, she stops off at an indie bookstore on the outskirts of her home town of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The manager there has a hypnotic presence, with a magnetic

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gaze that grabs her and leads her to come back again. He is a poet (six original poems are featured in the novel) and Penny finds him more and more intriguing as she gets to know him. The point of view in the novel is all Penny’s, so we have only Lyle’s mixed signals and trippy, zen-like sayings to know what’s happening in his mind.

He seems increasingly suspicious.
But we don’t know just how bad this bad guy is. One unsettling moment comes at their first date, when he asks Penny to keep it entirely their secret that they are seeing each other. He has a plausible explanation for this, all ready to go. And it turns out that he always does. He talks a very, very good game. At one point Penny reflects that everything he says seems to be both outrageous and indisputable. He is a “plague of vague,” and “like boxing with a fog bank.” But he is also sexy, and loving for her. He’s different, and interesting. They have a hot affair.

Not that this is full-on erotica. The novel is a character-driven “noir fiction”, that goes deep into the heads of its two lovers. It is not the familiar crime novel or police procedural. Penny and Lyle aren’t Bonnie and Clyde, but they become desperadoes in a way, when their perfect, “victim-less” crime spins out on them.
A phony letter and a genuine love. Humor, pathos, danger, and two of what Dickens called “lives of quiet desperation” come together in Bart Stewart’s novel, Painter of the Heavens.



Author Bart Stewart

Bart Stewart published his novel September 15th 2013 as an e-book, print will follow later. 219 pages, available at Amazon.com, and FREE to BORROW for Prime Members.
Don’t miss to visit his author page, and Bart Stewart’s blog.
BTW: Bart Stewart has currently a Goodreads Giveaway running for a former print version of TALES OF REAL & DREAM WORLDS, an award-winning short story collection: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/67941-tales-of-real-and-dream-worlds



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Tagged: A Novel of Crime and the Heart, Bart Stewart, Boston author, con artist, forgery plot, Painter of the Heavens, victimless crime

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