Lorena’s oldest brother Lauro is a passionate painter. He spends every spare minute painting. We were in Mexico one year when he got sent to Paris by his company for leadership training for a week. While everyone else went out and partied after the daily meetings, Lauro went wherever he could find impressionist paintings. He eventually made is way down to an area frequented by impressionists. They set up their easels there on the sidewalks and paint. He spent hours watching and talking to them. Eventually, he bought a couple of small paintings that he brought back with him to Mexico.
I love Lauro’s passion for his art. I have been meaning to tell him about some novels I am reading where his kind of art and passion for art play a big role in the plots of virtually every book in a fairly large series. To do that, I have to admit that one of my guilty pleasures is to ready spy and mystery novels. Several months ago I ran into a recommendation for one of the novels by Marvin Olasky in an old article in World Magazine:
Here’s my unconventional reading recommendation for high-school seniors: Daniel Silva’s The Heist (HarperCollins, 2014). It’s real: starts with the murder of a fallen British spy involved in the theft of great paintings. It’s a page-turner: continues with the efforts of Silva’s great hero, Israeli spy (and art restorer) Gabriel Allon, and a brave young woman who survived a Syrian massacre. It’s a proven reader-pleaser: This is the 14th novel in a series that repeatedly hits No. 1 on bestseller lists. And The Heist is 2/3 satisfactory regarding the “bad stuff”: no bad language or sex. Some violence—remember, it has spies and Syrian bad guys—but nothing grossly graphic.
And did you twice read the word “Syrian” in my last paragraph—a tipoff that The Heist will also teach students some current events and recent history? They’ll learn about 44 years of mass murder and mega-theft by the upwardly mobile Assad family that has ascended from peasantry to a $25 billion fortune, according to some estimates. Students will learn about bank secrecy in Austria. They’ll gain sympathy for Israel, a nation still largely aloof from God (sigh) but one deserving support because its citizens built and maintain a tidy small house—although one with broken windows—on a rough street of big mansions with loaded howitzers and unchained pit bulls.
Olasky’s must have similar tastes to my own as I have never been lead astray by his recommendations. There is a lot to like about these novel. I think Lauro would love them, not only because they are thrilling, page-turner, spy novels, but because the author is holds the same kind of passion for art as Lauro. One of the novels is even centered on Lauro’s favorite artist, Vincent Van Gogh. The author’s name is Daniel Silva and I was very surprised to see that his American. You will understand that statement when you have finished the first novel. The first book in the Gabriel Allon series is titled The Kill Artist.