Painter of the Damned

Painted Souls Book 2

Fiction - Thriller - General
402 Pages
Reviewed on 04/21/2023
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Vincent Dublado for Readers' Favorite

In Painter of the Damned: Painted Souls Book 2, Rob Samborn presents a devilish story of mystery and deceit when Nick and Julia O’Connor try to return home at the end of what was supposed to be an idyllic vacation. But returning home won’t be easy. They are arrested as a result of a skirmish and inappropriate behavior that involved Interpol -- as if the couple had committed an international crime. They try to explain to their interrogating officer what appear to be serious accusations: the police kidnapping Julia and a museum director killing a countess. It occurred to Nick that they have no shred of evidence to support their claims. Salvatore Della Porta, head of the Ancient Order of the Seventh Sun and murderer of Countess Baldessari, wants something from Nick. He believes that Nick is the key to finding an ancient book that could either change the world or destroy the Order.

Gripping. This is one word that comes to mind about this second installment. Rob Samborn can give Dan Brown a run for his money. He weaves a story in a web of psychological intrigue that takes his readers on a roller coaster ride with an ancient order, a framed couple, and a Renaissance painting with an eerie secret. But it doesn’t stop there. Samborn has eloquent prose that gives a level of sophistication to a story with a broad mass appeal. Painter of the Damned is an exciting novel and immensely stylish in the way the plot makes a twist before concluding. Adding color to this thriller is an assortment of interesting characters that contribute to raising the stakes that Nick and Julia are up against. This is a story of survival and ultimately finding peace. If you are into enigmatic thrillers, this book will leave you wanting more.

K.C. Finn

Painter of the Damned is a work of fiction by Rob Samborn in the thriller and paranormal adventure subgenres and it forms the second novel in the Painted Souls series. It is best suited to mature readers owing to scenes containing violence, sex, explicit medical situations, and the use of strong language throughout. In this chilling continuation of the adventures of Nick and Julia O'Connor, the pair fail to escape their Venetian nightmare and become embroiled in another terrifying plot. Salvatore della Porta believes that Nick has dangerous and powerful knowledge from a previous life, and he will stop at nothing to extract that, including destroying Nick in the process.

Rob Samborn breaks the second book curse by really starting this one off with a bang, and the storyline goes from strength to strength as we see Julia come to the fore to save her husband from a terrifying fate. I enjoyed the interplay between the different characters, old and new, and the dialogue was a triumph in giving key context, clues, and details without the need for blocks of prose that would have spoiled the novel’s superb pacing. Nick is a fascinating character in his own right, but the intermingling of his past life and past soul mate creates a fascinating paranormal aspect that blends surprisingly realistically into the modern-day storyline. Painter of the Damned is filled with action, intrigue, and non-stop thrills, and I would highly recommend it to fans of paranormal thrillers everywhere. A truly chilling read, ideal for the season.

Lex Allen

The second novel in the Painted Souls series, Painter of the Damned, picks up where Prisoner of Paradise left off as Nick and Julia O'Connor have escaped Venice and the clutches of Salvatore della Porta, leader of an ancient order that controls Paradise, a Tintoretto Renaissance painting that is also a purgatory for thousands of souls. Della Porta is convinced that Nick's previous life as Angelo knows the whereabouts of a mysterious book that would give him world-changing power and convinces Interpol to intercept the couple and return them to Venice. Nick is arrested and Julia has no recourse but to enlist the aid of Carlo Zuccaro, unaware that the young artist is the order's Painter and newly assigned warden of the damned. And from there, the proverbial sh*t (as in action, suspense, and metaphysical universals) hits the fan!

Rob Samborn is an expert at making all the convoluted machinations woven into this series, through the real world of today and the supernatural hell of yesteryear, come to life with scenes and characters that ooze verisimilitude—that all-important sense of reality. Painter of the Damned rivals and supersedes the fantasies portrayed by Dante or the dogmatic texts of today's religions with a unique metaphysical universe guaranteed to please fans of supernatural thrillers. Samborn's imagination truly knows no boundaries and the skill with which he presents everyday, true-to-life characters in well-known locales and interweaves modern-day living with supernatural beings in fantastically designed worlds is not only laudatory—it is a clearly defined demonstration of creative genius!