What happens when Capitalism is closely intertwined with Art? And what happens when Art is linked to people murdered or kidnapped? That is the literary framework of a stunning mystery written by Vincent Panettiere and titled The Scopas Factor.
The novel I reviewed is not only a mystery, but a modern spy story, where I saw many underlying messages. From the first to the last page.
The Scopas Factor is the story of an American detective, Mike Hegan, with a painful burden: all of the people he loved have been murdered, tragically.
His new girlfriend, Diana, offers him a new job opportunity, but this new vicissitude opens the way to another vortex of compelling twists, such as a trip to a small town in California, where a girl is kidnapped and two men are murdered. Why? This is the second, rather, the third question arising from the novel.
The kidnapped girl is, in turn, the daughter of a woman who survived a massacre in a village in Laos, in 1990. At that time, the people of the village were murdered by mercenaries involved in American deals.
After the massacre, the survivors relocated to a refugee camp in Thailandia, where a woman drafted scenes in the dirt and was called the Mud’s woman. She had a daughter, who will have a relevant role in the novel. The first twist of the book is straight linked to the Mud’s woman, also kidnapped and carried on a truck to an awful destination: the death.
During this reading, I sniffed the bitter smell of the tortures of Nazism. Fortunately, the author described these scenes with a respectful tone of voice.
I never perceived a subtle pleasure in the descriptions of the novel, but a compassionate way to talk about the vicissitudes of human beings, especially women, treated as merchandise. The only proof of the massacre in Laos is, indeed, a piece of cloth ripped from the dress of the Mud’s woman, the so called “story cloth”.
The entire plot focuses on this cloth, which has an incredible value for the American officers involved in the massacre and art dealers who want to buy it. Even the Russian Mafia, wants this piece of cloth.
The task of Mike Hegan is very hard, because the girl kidnapped is the niece of the Mud’s Woman, and the detective feels the strong urge to save her and the mother from another massacre: the one of their human dignity.
The story cloth is the extreme symbol of Capitalism, where money is worth more than life. But not only, money is the main reason of War and Murder and Exploitation of Human beings. In a world made by capitalists, what counts is money, people don’t matter, not even their life or dignity. They are consumer goods, nothing else.
The message conveyed from the novel is sharp, clear and well written. The style of writing is wonderfully arranged such as a movie screenplay. The Scopas Factoris right a great literary work which deserves to be turned into a movie.
Author: Vincent Panettiere
Title: The Scopas Factor
Available on Amazon