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101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual blend of Art and Crime
Estelle Ryan's 'The Gauguin Connection' is an ingenious report on the research of a most unlikely team brought together by the death of a promising young artist whose work is found to be forgeries of Gaugain's paintings, amongst others also of the painting "Still life with white bowl". A tag cut from this painting is found sewn into the murdered girl's clothes. Later on...
Published on September 6, 2012 by engemi ferreira

versus
32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed, but
As a fan of Daniel Silva I was quite excited to discover this book. All my interests, art, classical music and mystery in one.
I enjoyed the first half of the book but then found the constant arguing between the main characters and references to facial expressions and body postures
a bit repetitive. I found the Doctor quite an interesting character and a change...
Published 15 months ago by Roy Baverstock


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101 of 105 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Unusual blend of Art and Crime, September 6, 2012
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
Estelle Ryan's 'The Gauguin Connection' is an ingenious report on the research of a most unlikely team brought together by the death of a promising young artist whose work is found to be forgeries of Gaugain's paintings, amongst others also of the painting "Still life with white bowl". A tag cut from this painting is found sewn into the murdered girl's clothes. Later on it is found there were more such deaths and the investigation leads readers deeper into the art world and its mysteries.

When Dr Genevieve Lenard, a researcher who works for the insurance firm where this particular painting has been insured, sees a newspaper cutting of the murdered girl, it almost costs her a relapse; Genevieve Lenard is suffering from a special strain of autism and virtually lives with daily influxes of the desease. The author paints a sympathetic portrait of a highly intelligent yet beautiful young woman's predicament and the way she works on herself to rise above her social demeanor.

Ms Ryan who has done a wealth of research which gives authenticity to this, her first literary foray into the crime scene, and together with her ability of telling a good story, this book pulls the reader ahead within a well balanced mixture of the high life, intellectual repartee, political low ground and empathy between the very interesting group of characters thrown together to form a highly unlikely investigative team. The latter makes for intrigue and keeps the reader's interest in place.

I found The Gauguin Connection a most satisfying read, and I sincerely hope Estelle Ryan, will carry on with this trend she started to even deeper and more fleshed out (if I may say so) crimi-stories -forging her very humane even lovable characters in many more 'deep waters' and 'international dungeons', thus keeping all of us reading on the edges of our seats
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74 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An exiting debut!, August 19, 2012
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
I am not your typical suspense reader. I tend to loose the plot early in the story and then loose interest. This did not happen with this book. The plot was by no means simple, but offered in such a clear way that I found myself hooked and lost some sleep because of that. Plus the book has enough humour to keep me entertained (I hate books with absolutely no humour) and enough romance to keep me more than entertained!

Genevieve is a unique main character and is portrayed as 'n real rounded person and not only as a freak with some special abilities. The development of her personality is drawn in a very convincing way.

The end is perfect for a next book and I am looking forward to it!

PS. Being a real romantic, Colin is definetely my favourite character. And I just loved G's observations about the male communication patterns.
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Art, Crime, and Autism..not your usual detective story, October 14, 2012
By 
Terreciel (Bellingham WA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
Genevive Lenard, our main character, has high-functioning autism. She's extremely intelligent but has poor social skills. She doesn't understand jokes or euphemisms, hates physical contact of any kind, and has extreme OCD. Her boss, Philip, has realized her ability to 'read' non-verbal communication and hires her to investigate insurance fraud by viewing videos of his clients. Philip is the only person she trusts because he respects her requirements and never treats her like a freak.

Along comes Manny, a detective friend of Philip, asking for help in solving a puzzling crime involving the murder of a young woman. Genevive, against her wishes, agrees to help because Philip asks, even though she dislikes Manny profoundly. The investigation becomes more intricate, involving all sorts of people and agencies that seem to have no connection to each other.

The plot is a good, with numerous misdirections and seemingly unrelated details. The characters are well developed and have depth; especially Genevive. I imagine it's challenging to create a character such as Genevive, who isn't always sympathetic with her blunt approach and unusual needs, but Estelle Ryan makes us believe in Genevive.

***Small Spoiler Alert****

My only complaint, a small one, is that early in the book, Genevive copes with any disturbing event by tuning out her surroundings, sometimes for hours, and writing out Mozart's compositions, which she has memorized. As the book progresses and stressful situations become more frequent, she can cope simply by imagining the music. Her other autistic behaviours change fairly rapidly (the story takes place over the course of several weeks). Autistic people are certainly capable of learning new behaviours, but I think a more gradual change, over the course of several novels perhaps, would be more believable.

*************
That said, I liked this book and highly recommend it. The main character is not the usual hapless female. I look forward to reading more books about Genevive Lenard.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed, but, October 15, 2013
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
As a fan of Daniel Silva I was quite excited to discover this book. All my interests, art, classical music and mystery in one.
I enjoyed the first half of the book but then found the constant arguing between the main characters and references to facial expressions and body postures
a bit repetitive. I found the Doctor quite an interesting character and a change from the usual heroine, although I did lose attention at times.
I am sure though, a lot of people will enjoy this book.
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43 of 48 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great idea, poor execution., December 14, 2013
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
I chose this book based on the high reviews, but I was overall disappointed with it. I felt that it was Girl With the Dragon Tattoo meets White Collar, but instead of being entertaining, suspenseful and well developed, it was a fairly flat narrative of the events. This book has a ton of potential and could be a fantastic story, but it is poorly executed. It is an easy read, but many times I wanted to put it down because the author never succeeded in creating any suspense or tension. I finished the book only because I wanted to know who Piros was and how the art forgeries were related to murders and the theft of weapons. We learn who Piros is (and it’s no surprise) but none of the other aspects of the case are ever fully resolved. The whole ending is very anti-climactic.

The writing and storytelling were weak at best. Quirks of Genevieve’s become redundant and as a reader I wanted to scream “STOP! I know. You’ve told me about the orbicularis oculi muscles about a hundred times.” And those little muscles… let me tell you! Genevieve can tell everything about you from them. Genevieve uses cues from these muscles to “read” people and the author uses it as a means to dismiss suspicion of new characters without having to actually develop the character and provide a basis for their trustworthiness. We are also reminded with nearly every encounter about Genevieve’s aversion to physical contact, and also reminded repetitively every time Colin touches her that she is surprised at how much she doesn’t mind him touching her.

Genevieve is autistic and does not understand the euphemisms, metaphors, and figures of speech that are used by the other characters. This woman who holds a Ph.D., yet somehow hasn’t learned the most common phrases and sayings. I find it extremely unlikely that after all that education she wouldn’t have learned what these phrases mean to others even if she finds them meaningless. She knows a lot about “reading” people based upon body language, but knows seemingly nothing about the spoken word. Contradicting this character trait is the fact that the book is narrated in the first person by Genevieve, who uses many more complex and less common figures of speech than the ones she gets stumped by when others use them. For example, Genevieve is clueless when the following phrases are used: “My boss is riding my arse,” “I could kiss you right now” (when someone was thrilled with her work) and she does not know what a goon is, what being anal means, or what it means to be “sweet on you.” However, she uses phrases like “Relief stole my breath,” “bring me down a peg or two,” “cruising for a bruising,” and “above board.” The worst one from this Ph.D. educated woman is on page 192: “Were they primates, they might have started beating their chests.” Uh, sweetie, humans are primates.
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22 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this book!, November 27, 2012
By 
Mary K. (Minneapolis, MN) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
I stumbled upon this book by accident and decided to buy it...I'm very glad I did.

I was captivated by the story and the characters. I especially liked the main character, Genevieve. She was very quirky and interesting.

It was well written, drove me to read TOO late into the night and,clearly, was well researched.

Good job!
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Tedious dialogue with excessive verbal altercations., December 20, 2013
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
I love history and am a world traveler, but I found many flaws in The Gauguin Connection. And talk about superfluous information. Who wanted to see long lists of various organizations and their functions - even as a student of politics, this seemed excessive. And I felt the author over complicated explanations.

I had an uneasy feeling while reading this novel, and I'm not sure why. Maybe there weren't enough relatable characters. My wife worked with autistic children for years and we constantly interface with autistic adults, so I felt this POV was a bit off base and too one sided. I've read novels about ultra intellects, watched biographies of autistic geniuses, and still could not get into this dialogue filled novel that seemed to miss the mark when it comes to proper exposition.

Lots of contradictory settings/sayings throughout. Perhaps Ms Ryan was attempting to convey a sense of confusion in autistic people, but it felt discombobulated to me.

This book might be better for someone who enjoys spending days or weeks (in this case), reading one novel, but for me the dialogue was overbearing and for the most part added nothing great to the story.

Again, having autistic people in my life, I have read several novels that outshine this, but apparently many people were able to gleam more from this novel than I. Having to read repeated dialogue filled with caustic discord made me aggitated. I don't enjoy arguing, so I don't enjoy reading about people who do this ad nauseum. Autistic people in my life rarely argue, so maybe this was based on a different level than we are accustomed.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A somewhat frustrating read., April 6, 2014
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
The Gauguin Connection by Estelle Ryan
(Book #1: The Genevieve Lenard Series)
Source: Purchase
Rating: 3/5 stars

As many of you know, in my “regular” life I am an art historian and love books that are related to art and artists. Clearly, a book with a title like “The Gauguin Connection” was going to pique my interest and it certainly did. I just wish my interest had been held all the way through.

What I liked:

*Genevieve: I instantly liked Genevieve when the following happened:
“Pleased to meet you, Ms. Lenard.”
“It’s Doctor Lenard. And you’re not.”
“Not what?”
“Not pleased to meet me.”
Yep, that is the precise moment (between pages 1 and 3) I fell in like with Genevieve. The moment I fell in love with her is when it is precisely explained that she is an extremely high functioning autistic woman with a genius-level IQ who has worked her entire life to learn how to read people down to the most minute detail. Because of her skill – which is ranked third in the world – she is an invaluable asset to the insurance company she works for. Genevieve’s ability to spot connections and detect misbehavior has made her an extraordinary fraud detector and that is precisely why the police are asking for her help.

*Manny: the detective who is not, in fact pleased to meet Genevieve but is in desperate need of her help. Turns out, a whole butt load of weapons have gone missing, there’s a dead girl and, officials at the highest level may be involved in the whole mess. Manny only trusts a few people and one of his dearly trusted friends tells him that if anyone can help him, it is Dr. Genevieve Lenard.

*Colin: aah, the criminal with a heart. I adore Colin and from the moment you meet him, you understand that he is not your average criminal. In fact, Colin is not your average human and seems to be the only person on Earth that Genevieve can tolerate. From the moment they meet, Colin and Genevieve connect with one another but she has problems with his means and methods and only reluctantly agrees to his help. Turns out, the criminal with a heart grows on the doctor and before she fully appreciates what is happening, she comes to rely on Colin.

*Vinny: aah, the other criminal with a heart. He is big and brutish (though very intelligent according to Genevieve’s read) and is absolutely devoted to Colin. Vinny’s one and only concern is keeping Genevieve safe because that is what Colin wants. Vinny is also a spectacular cook and takes no crap off anyone, including Manny 

What I didn’t like:

*The extraneous detail: Though I fully appreciate that all of the detail is something that is particular to Genevieve, there is much in the book that I could have done without. In fact, as I neared the end of the read, I began skipping great chunks of text because I knew it would just contain a lot of detail I didn’t need.

*The repetition regarding Genevieve and her autism: after the first few explanations regarding Genevieve’s behavior after an “episode” or particular event is more than enough to inform the reader about her behaviors and what techniques she has developed to cope with each event. To be sure, the explanations are fascinating but as the read wears on, the repetition regarding Genevieve and her behavior becomes yet another chunk of text that the reader can skip.

The Bottom Line: I am so very on the fence where this read is concerned. On the plus side, I am such a huge fan of character-driven reads and the characters are definitely the strength of this read. On the minus side, the extraneous detail and repetition is quite trying to the point that by the time I got toward the end of the novel, I actually didn’t care about the big reveal and the arrest of the big bads. With that being said, I really did like each of the major characters and the interactions between them. Genevieve is such a unique and interesting character – an unlikely hero to be sure. The fact that a person with Genevieve’s particular issues can overcome her own particular fears to referee the three men in her life - two criminals and one cop - makes her truly intriguing and I have to admit, the strength of the characters is going to be just enough to pull me into the second book in the series. To be fair, the second book will absolutely be the make it or break it book for me.
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24 of 30 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too bad there is no dislike button, March 7, 2014
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
First: I did not get very far into this before I simply could not take anymore. As an avid reader of just about anything, I hate to give up on a book. The main character was not at all likeable and seemed to be a poorly rendered imitation of Kathy Reich's Tempe Brennan, well, the TV version. I found the main character's boss unbelievable. He never disciplined her, just rolled his eyes and told her that her diagnosis made anything she wanted to do or say OK. I, too, got this book for free, and I too have deleted it. Life is too short to waste on bad books.
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50 of 66 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good concept ruined by a tedious, amateurish execution, November 9, 2013
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This review is from: The Gauguin Connection (Book 1) (Genevieve Lenard) (Kindle Edition)
This book is a case history in why non-writers should not attempt to write novels without first learning the craft of writing. The author had an excellent idea for a lead character: a brilliant, high-functioning autistic researcher for an insurance company. Throw in an attractive art thief, a murdered art forger, and a cache of government guns gone missing, and you *should* have a good story. And you would, if the author had the vaguest idea of how to construct a novel. What the author gives us, instead, is endless, repetitive conversation--you can't even call it dialogue--among characters who they over the same territory for countless chapters and get, essentially, nowhere.

The lead character keeps telling the reader in this first person narrative that she doesn't understand figures of speech, and takes them literally, but the author accidentally has that lead character use figures of speech, herself.

About halfway through the book, I began skimming pages and chapters that seemed to plodding across the same dull terrain and getting nowhere. Skipping a good third of the text this way, I found that I hadn't missed a thing by the time I got to the end...which, of course, was implausible, predictable, and dull.

I can't figure out where all those four and five star ratings that snookered me into downloading this book came from, but I assume the author has a great many friends, either that or a large, extended family.
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