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Robert Junghans
The Reaper
Rob Jung, author
A riot at the 1937 Paris World Exposition turns deadly, and propels timid security guard, Francois Picard, into the middle of maelstrom: a fight over possession of a famous painting between the Nazi high command, Catalonian nationalists, an American industrialist and a Spanish museum curator. Against the backdrop of the Spanish Civil War, Picard clumsily attempts to influence the painting’s future to his personal advantage, but his girlfriend jilts him, the looming world war terrifies him and his plan collapses. And then the painting disappears. Did the Nazi’s steal it? Was it burned in a warehouse fire? Did the nationalists take it back to Barcelona as a symbol of Catalonian independence? As Picard flees Europe for the golden streets of America, the questions remained unanswered. Seventy-five years later, Hamilton Blethen, a down-and-out artist from St. Paul, Minnesota, is asked to paint The Reaper. Certain that he is being asked to paint a forgery, he struggles to balance ethics versus a million-dollars fee, and his love of a woman against the pain of being abandoned as a child by his mother. But it is his estranged mother, Magnolia Kanaranzi, one of the richest women in the world, who is pulling the strings behind the scene. Her shocking discovery of a secret about Blethen turns a possible reunion deadly, as power and greed engulf mother and son, and The Reaper once again becomes a pawn to be captured by the victor.