Book Debut

BRUSHED OFF by M. Lee Musgrave. 

When it comes to books, I have a particular fondness for mystery novels. So, during my many decades as a member of the Los Angeles art community I often considered writing one inspired by the many relationships I developed with artists, gallerists, collectors and related others.

As a result, my first suspense novel, Brushed Off, is now available via Black Rose Writing/Publishing, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores. Noted Readers Favorite critic Cecil Brewer, awarded it 5 Stars and wrote the following review:

Brushed Off by M. Lee Musgrave paints an interesting and revealing series of passages about the Los Angeles art scene. The opening picture of LA’s beach community, its oddball characters, mixed with homeless wanderers draws the reader into this story as Sketchy and Duie (his dog) discover a friend dead under a pile of destroyed paintings and a totally wrecked studio. Sketchy, an artist-videographer, and his homicide detective friend set off to find answers. More suspicious deaths in the art community pressure the duo to find the killer. Looking for a link to the murders, Sketchy takes the reader deep into the lives of the artists, collectors, and beautiful people who inhabit this world of creativity. With his video documentary work as cover, the threads he discovers unravel a tapestry of crime that only an artist could perceive in the glare of so many colors.

Musgrave uses a number of conventions to depict details of color, texture, and location to convince the reader that this is a plausible tale told by an observant artist. The twist of a detective using a well-connected artist to investigate leads plays well in this adventure. Musgrave takes the reader on trips through LA and its several neighborhoods with Sketchy chasing leads, dead ends, and discoveries. He hides the motive for murder until the final segments and this lets the reader enjoy the scenes he composes in this montage of Los Angeles from its world renowned beaches to the mansions overlooking them. Brushed Off is an enjoyable mystery, especially for fans of the art world.”
Cecil Brewer, Critic Readers Favorite

Here are more reviews of Brushed Off  from noted authors.

“Who is killing the contemporary artists of L.A.? Why are they shoving paint brushes down their victims’ throats? Who’s next on the killer’s list? In Brushed Off artist and public-TV art show host James “Sketchy” Terra finds himself smack in the middle of things, racing to help his homicide detective buddy unravel a puzzle as urgent as a splatter painting and as complex as an M.C. Escher drawing. Lee Musgrave’s swift and energetic novel pulls its readers through the studio doors into a brash and entertaining world of big ambitions, bigger egos, love and sex and secrets and shady wheeler-dealing. Calling on his long experience as an artist and curator as he cruises from the beaches and bars and galleries of L.A. to the hidden havens of the Santa Monica Mountains, Musgrave creates a compelling collage of mystery-novel action and art-world exposé as he paints a portrait of the Art of Murder.”
Bob Hicks, two-time Pulitzer nominee and Senior Editor, Artswatch (

Brushed-Off is a unique, atmospheric work of Los Angeles mystery fiction. Not only does author Lee Musgrave provide an engaging case, which ends in an explosive climax, but he also paints a vivid portrait of the city’s beautiful but dangerous art scene from an insider’s perspective. A welcome addition for those who enjoy contemporary L.A. noir.”
Rick Treon, award-winning author of Deep Background and Let the Guilty Pay

5.0 out of 5 stars “An incredible LA Mystery.” Brushed Off, reviewed on Amazon March 11, 2021.
“Using LA to add to the look and feel of his prose, the author creates a unique art world space for a murder mystery. Readers will want more from this author.”
Timothy Gene Sojka, Author of Payback Jack

“Just finished Lee’s novel Brushed Off, a great ‘who done it’ story. I got it and couldn’t put it down. It’s now available on Kindle, buy it, you’ll love it.”
Brian Lindsay, avid book reader based in Texas.

I am currently writing the sequel to Brushed Off which features more adventures by the same exciting characters.

Brief Author Bio 
As a former professor of art and curator for 30 years, i organized hundreds of exhibitions at museums, galleries, and municipal venues involving artists, collectors, critics, gallerists, art professionals and a vast array of related enthusiasts. My writings related to those exhibitions contributed to their success and to my ability to relate that community to others. Plus, I lived in Los Angeles for over 40 years including in Malibu Canyon and Santa Monica. Those many experiences and my ongoing personal art activities inform my creative writing about the area’s exciting art community.

When it comes to other authors, I especially enjoy Raymond Chandler’s approach to story, character and location, as well as that of Dashiell Hammett, Ross Macdonald, James Ellroy, Walter Mosley, Michael Connelly and many others.

I have completed several Brushed Off prequel short stories and if you read the book then post a positive review let me know ( for I will send you a free prequel story as well as enter your name in a chance to win one of many surprise gifts including the ear-rings featured on the cover.   

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