The Scopas Factor by Vincent Panettiere
Publication Date : November 5th 2018
Publisher : BookBaby
Read Date : May 10th 2018
Genre : Mystery / Thriller
Pages : 326
Stars : ★ ★ ★1/2 / 5
A Hmong “story cloth,” a Revolutionary War battle flag, forged Picassos and a Russian drug dealer—finding the link between these disparate elements is the challenge Mike Hegan faces in The Scopas Factor, the latest mystery from Vincent Panettiere.
After his last investigation ends tragically, Detective Mike Hegan returns to Chicago from St. Kitts, hoping to put everything behind him. But his girlfriend, Diana, has other plans, and although he has no interest in the job opportunity she presents him—in a small northern California town, no less—he wants to please her. Upon his arrival in Weedley, he’s caught up in a kidnapping and two murders. A visit to Diana’s family in San Francisco only serves to deepen the mystery, as her father might be the link to a gang of antiquities thieves that might have something to do with the crimes in Weedley. And when Diana’s father disappears, Hegan takes off for Antibes in southern France, where he discovers that the mystery has only just begun.
The Scopas Factor was a second book in Mike Hegan mystery series. Book was revolved around primitive art, forgery, Laosian history, and drug smuggling that tangled main character – detective Mike Hegan in complex case. Book was filled with twist and turns, some tense scene and little bit romance.
I haven’t read first book so I can tell there wasn’t much I was missing from first book and can be read as standalone. Writing was okay at first but as I read more I could see it improving by the end of the book. It was third person narrative from multiple character’s perspective. The narration style, setting and plot was different and interesting.
It started in 1990 with Hmong woman running from communist insurgents terrorizing village. They were assisted by the Americans during Vietnam War. While staying at refugee camp she recreated horrors of war by sewing a cloth depicting the events she witnessed. She hid it in secret compartment of her lean-to. The cloth that took old woman’s life and put her daughter Mos and her family in danger even after 25 years.
Why cloth was so important, why the Skaggs was after it, why Tom and some other people had ‘Don’t Trade On Me’ flag and why they had letters from Ambassadors of America signed by Rene Sabotka, who was Sabotka, how he was related to cloth and why he wanted it? All these questions made the book interesting and I was curious to find out how Hegan was going to solve the mystery of story cloth.
First few chapters gave overview of history of story cloth, Tom Fritzgerald and Hegan’s life as detective of Chicago Police Department, how he was now on sabbatical after returning previous mission and on the case of two murders and a missing story cloth.
Hegan was clever, his deductive skill was great and I liked how he cared for people around him. Initially he was suspicious of Thornie but once it was cleared their team was remarkable. I enjoyed conversations between them. Thornie was my most favorite character in the book. He was hilarious British that made the book lively and eased the tension of the mystery.
Side characters David, Alexis, LeNoir and Thornie were eventually introduced. I liked to read their part in the mystery that helped to gather the pieces of puzzle. Yvette’s life story and her relation to LeNoir was intriguing and I liked how she reconnected with her lost family. All characters were flawed and realistic.
Drama, murder, kidnapping, smuggling with many twist and turns made me read till the end of the chapter. A statue by Scopas and Hegan’s skill was the turning point in the book. Climax was good. Last 30% of the book fast paced, real interesting and tense filled with action, little surprises and better writing. I liked the way mystery was concluded.
Now there were few things that kept me distracted and from fully enjoying the story. I enjoyed first chapter but from second to seventh chapter (first 100 pages), it didn’t held the same interest and pace, maybe because of narration style which was little confusing.
I couldn’t feel the characters. There was more focus on plot than characters. I didn’t care for any of them. Though Hegan was main character, I feel like I don’t know much about him and his romance with Yvette was also superficial. The way they met and their love at first sight felt unrealistic.
I couldn’t feel the thrill of mystery until last 30% of the book.
Overall, it was interesting and unique plot and mystery with twist and turns. I would have loved the book if it had depth in characters and more gripping narration.
*** Note : I received this book from the author, in exchange for an honest review. ***
Author: Vincent Panettiere
Purchase Link: Amazon
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