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“Lanier brilliantly evokes the energy and excitement of the New York art world in this Cold War thriller with an artistic twist."

Ross King

New York Times Bestselling Author and Art Historian

More than an art heist ... A gripping, historical art mystery set in 1950s New York. With post-World War II New York, 1950s avant-garde art world, and the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings as background, For the Minds and Wills of Men tells the story of abstract expressionism and mid-century American politics - a story of art, love, and Cold War fear, suspicion, and betrayal, as well layered and complex as the abstract expressionist paintings that take center stage.

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"Lanier intelligently limns not only the American obsession with Communist infiltration in the wake of World War II, but also the emergence of abstract expressionism in the U.S. ... An exceedingly intelligent and unpredictable story ... a mesmerizing spy thriller, thoughtful and dramatic.”

— Kirkus Review

"A sophisticated art espionage page-turner that is also a profound introspection on an intriguing time, the Cold War era. Lanier offers readers a gripping crime novel that includes the perfect mix of political and art history, intense characters, and a beautiful love story."

- IndieReader

“A must-be-read-to-be-believed book … Lanier brings the real story of art as a key player in mid-century American politics and international relations. Sweetened with romance, intrigue, and historical knowledge, this book is a fun romp for readers of all stripes.” 

— Jennifer Dasal, Author of ArtCurious: Stories of the Unexpected, Slightly Odd,

and Strangely Wonderful in Art History

“A captivating tour through the art world of postwar New York, blended with an enthralling whodunit that leaves you guessing until the end." 

– Glasstire Magazine

“Terrific … of the highest order.”

—  Ann Weisgarber, award-winning author of The Glovemaker and The Promise              

"Entertaining ... enlightening ... filled with memorable characters both historical and fictional."

- Lone Star Literary Life

"Psychologically gripping ... a milieu of paranoia."

—  Todd Stoddard Smith, Author of Whore Stories

"A rare delight indeed ... highly recommended."

—  Readers' Favorite

Manhattan, 1953. Fear of communist subversion and espionage are tearing America apart. Abstract expressionism is on the verge of exploding, making New York the cultural epicenter of the world. While recovering a stolen Jackson Pollock for a wealthy client, art insurer Will Oxley falls for the client’s daughter, Liz Bower, who leads him deep into the rebellious and seductive world of the abstract expressionist painters, their Village bar haunts and East Hampton binges. But when Will learns the painting⁠—and Liz⁠—may be hiding communist secrets better left hidden, he finds himself torn between exposing the girl he loves or risking his life by trusting her instead. Realizing nothing is as it seems, Will is caught between communist espionage, secret government programs, and the grip of cold war fear, suspicion, and betrayal where trust is all he has left ….


Jeff Lanier earned bachelor's degrees in History and Art History at The University of Texas, Austin with a focus on the History of American Culture through Art and Literature. He has a master's from Rice University, is a member of the American Society of Aesthetics, and currently lives in Houston with his wife and three kids.



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