The Poison Artist

Author: Jonathan Moore
Genre: Mystery/ suspense
Buy: Amazon

The Poison Artist starts with a depression situation for Caleb Maddox. The synopsis says as much, a nasty breakup before meeting mysterious Emmeline. After that, Caleb is obsessed and starts to stalk her. During the day, Caleb returns to his job as a toxicologist, researching chemical effects of pain. His research needs participants and grant money, so he is also experiencing high stress level on top of heartbreak.


Amazon’s cover looks like this:

Most of the reviews comment on how the starting was slow, which I agree. Caleb Maddox’s life is sad to a point that’s unbearable. But as the protagonist, the show must go on, and he soldiers on. With friend Henry, who is the Chief Medical Examiner, Caleb tries to figure out 4 things::

  1. Who’s the serial killer?
  2. Who is this alluring Emmeline?
  3. What is he going to do for the lack of participants in his research?
  4. What is he going to do with his girlfriend, Bridget?


As he investigates further, I realise it is a rabbit hole he’s crawled into. Even though Poison Artist is written in third person POV, it is clear that he is fast becoming an unreliable source/ narrator. He hasn’t been sleeping much, and he’s been drinking plenty of Berthe de Joux, a brand of absinthe that Emmeline likes.
Here’s a cool video of what he’s been drinking…

Thanks Youtube.

Anyway… by now, the story turns dark and gory. The Poison Artist goes from poor heartbroken man to poor broken man. If you like psychological thrillers with gory scenes, this is definitely your book.  Jonathan Moore delivers a downward spiral that is like a vortex, sucking me in and I pretty much slept at 2am so I can finish the book.


The Poison Artist is well done despite the slow pace in the start. Much like a piece of art, the writer starts with a rough sketch to draw us in. Then add layers of colours and textures. The result is a breathtaking scene that threatens to do your head in. Is it enjoyable? I think so, the ending shocks at many levels. Though the one thing that left a big impression, is the author’s ability to throw smoking guns here and there to lead the readers on.

Definitely a must read if you like thrillers and murder mysteries.

Oh, and a word of warning… nothing romantic in this book.

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