The Vermeer Conspiracy
The last to see Danielle Caruthers, and the one who reports her missing, Sabrina Gutierrez, knows that the key to her roommate’s mystifying disappearance is the password-protected folder on Danielle’s laptop. A Yale art history senior who’s passionate about 17th century Dutch painter Carel Fabritius, Danielle never goes anywhere without her laptop, but leaves it with Sabrina prior to heading out for New York. Danger looms when Whitmore Verhaast, Danielle’s distinguished yet dodgy art history professor, is in hot pursuit of Danielle’s whereabouts. Amid precarious circumstances, Sabrina has to find a way to unlock the folder’s contents and, hopefully, save her friend in the process, before Verhaast shows up.
Rising author, Eytan Halaban, scripts a refreshing historical twist to an innovative fictional account in his latest novel. Featuring Sabrina as narrator, Halaban’s first-person narrative combines literary elements that appeal to a wide range of readers. Aside from his attractive book cover which portrays an upturned close-up of the stunning young woman in Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring,” The Vermeer Conspiracy is steeped in mystery. And, though this book does not specifically zero in on this painting, the mere consideration of that iconic work of art quickly grabs the attention of art hobbyists and aficionados—not to mention a throwback to Scarlett Johansson’s impeccable performance in the Oscar-nominated film that bears the same Vermeer label.
Surrounded by modern-day environs, Halaban’s plot is focused on one underprivileged Latina from Chicago whose full scholarship not only places her in a prestigious college, but who also unexpectedly finds herself in the crossfire of a diabolical plot focused on obscure conspiracies of 17th century Dutch art history. Contrived in its creation, Halaban presents near-believable machinations tightly rolled inside historical and geographical environs. Of particular interest is the way Halaban unfolds Sabrina’s story by subtly raising awareness to the similarities between Sabrina’s personal trauma and the plight of the women of Fabritius’ and Vermeer’s era, which are deftly punctuated within a riveting good vs. evil (underdog vs. victor) plot. All of the aforementioned elements mixed in with alternating un-clichéd scenes of the present and the past, cliffhanging chapter closures, and Verhaast’s foreboding presence, Halaban keeps his audience totally engaged from beginning to end.
The Vermeer Conspiracy is a one-of-a-kind novel that’s earmarked to be an unforgettable top seller.
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