A Kindle Top Ten Murder Mystery Feb. 2014
and Kindle Top 20 Nov/Dec. 2013, thanks to YOU!

Distortion is a dark crime novel told from the point of view of the “bombshell” who isn’t stupid, evil or blonde. An artist, Adele Proust paints  a crime scene in reverse perspective and turns a murder investigation backwards—onto her friends.

Much appreciation to:

Larry Payne's
Off the Shelf
Bookworm Ink
London radio/podcast
Many events thanks to the original publisher, Buzz Books USA
Many thanks to the publisher, Buzz Books USA

Reviewers are saying:
“The intrigue and lies pull you in.”
“The painting scenes make me feel like an artist.

Read the latest reviews:



At a 3-chord punk bar, artist Adele Proust slams down a Shiner with her best friend Marvin.  She only wants to forget her ex, but when shouts of fire send the nightclub into chaos, she ends up stumbling over a slashed-up corpse. The details of that murder scene etch into her memory. Then she’s yanked away. The nightclub is in flames.

Any clues to the slasher burn with that corpse except Adele brings them back in a painting–reversed. She paints the background huge, with the victim in front, but small. Her signature technique brings out a pivotal clue: a paper currency strap.

Thugs  come after Adele. Sure, the FBI can protect her, but they want something too. That victim was one of their agents and the murder suspects include both Adele’s ex and her best friend, Marvin.

Without explaining much, the FBI asks Adele to spy on her friends, for her country. Adele refuses—until someone starts killing her friends. Now she’ll use the FBI, the clues–and even her friends–to save them.

Read about the time-warp and Houston setting

Distortion is based on my experience as an activist in Houston’s free-spirited Montrose arts district.
As founder of CityA, I organized marches, art exhibits, benefit concerts, pickets and educational seminars to raise awareness of apartheid, racism, AIDS and poverty. I watched the local art community crumble under gentrification, then saw it reform in pockets around Houston.

But I haven’t seen another place that rivals the lawlessness of our original community, isolated within the metropolis by fear. Young people from all over Houston would “cruise” our neighborhood on the weekends, afraid to step out of their cars. Individuals who couldn’t quite assimilate to the norms of suburbia would flock to our community, a place to find acceptance. And art was created there–paintings, music, performance. It didn’t just hang on walls.


With many thanks to The Voice, The Houston Press, GlassTire Magazine, Free Press Houston, The Oklahoman, The Bryan-College Station Eagle, The Enid News and Eagle, E-Town Magazine, NewsOK, The Oklahoma Gazette, The Lawton Constitution and The Norman Sentinel for their coverage of Distortion-related events, including the following:

Enid Symphony and Enid Writer's
“Summer Wine: A Harvest of Words”
Texas and Oklahoma
Friends of the Chickasha Library (at USAO)
Friends of the Chickasha Library (USAO)
The Menil Collection
The Menil Collection
Oklahoma City
Many events thanks to Buzz Books

Click the About Lucie Smoker page for more info about online events, articles about my writing, and my ongoing freelance work.