Caffeine Books published by John T. Cullen (Clocktower Books, San Diego; read half free at Galley City


Science Horror novels (SH) by John Argo in the DarkSF series

= Mona Lisa Novel =

Paris Nocturne: Leonardo's Woman in the Moon

This novel is a Dark Journey to the Shining Secret of Leonardo's Mona Lisa—a complex historical novel, with angels, ghosts, and much more by European author Andrť A. LíAube. The story is by turns romantic, melancholy, uplifting, and in a few spots disturbing—not a light read.

On a dreary 2020 autumn day on the Pacific Coast of Oregon, the twins ChloŽ and Rob Wilson (age 30) arrive from Europe to bury their father, Dan Wilson. They don't know it, but there is an angel with them at the funeral--the ghost of a baby sister who died long ago when Dan Wilson was a young soldier stationed in West Germany over forty years ago in the 1970s.

Claire, the angel, died in this world, but she is living a full and prosperous life in a parallel world where Rob and ChloŽ donít exist. Rob and ChloŽ are ghosts there in turn, because of a tragic decision Dan made on a bridge in Paris in 1977. Now, in death, Dan will be given a second chance to live his life over again from that moment, which in turn will affect many people across several parallel worlds.

We encounter angels, ghosts, parallel worlds, an escaped Nazi war criminal and his monstrous crimes, and always the delectable landscapes of Heidelberg and Paris. We see several attractive, sincere young men and women who seek the answers today to a family riddle from the Cold War era—which, however, turns into much more: a plausible answer to the mysteries of Leonardo da Vinci and the Mona Lisa, worldís most famous and expensive work of art.

In the end, HEA but a challenging road getting there. Primary settings are: Salem, Oregon; Heidelberg, Germany; and Paris, France. We briefly touch on Luxembourg and Salem today; plus Renaissance Florence in the age of Leonardo da Vinci, who died in 1519 at a chateau in the Loire Valley, owned by his patron King FranÁois 1 of France. Leonardo put finishing touches on the Mona Lisa at Clos Lucť near Ch‚teau d'Amboise.

There is a lot the twins don't know as they return to their own busy and exciting lives in Europe. Rob works in Frankfurt and is seriously dating a Luxembourg woman named Elise. Chloe works in Paris, and is seriously dating a handsome young video producer named Yves. When they sell the house and liquidate Dad's property in Salem (their Mom predeceased him by two years in 2018), they find a journal that Dan kept of his happily married life in Oregon after his separation from the U.S. Army in 1980. Strangely, his jotted and jumbled notes suggest it is Journal III, so where are the earlier two? And what is in them?

The family only know that he served two enlistments in West Germany. The first was a wonderful time--he was single, healthy, secure, and able to travel all over Europe on a whim, any day, any week, as much as his Army duties at Heidelberg permitted. The second enlistment became a time from hell, in which he had a terrible marriage with a German girl, their baby died, they divorced, her family (including the war criminal father) hated Dan , and Danís cold-hearted Army superiors showed no empathy or understanding. In 1980, Dan returned to Oregon a broken man having to start life over practically from scratch.

So why is the spirit of his lost child, a grown woman from another dimension, tracking the twins' every move as they search for Journals I (the good one) and II (the nightmare)? Danís mission in life, which he walked away from on that Bridge of Regret in Paris in 1977, was to marry beautiful young Parisian scholar Claudette Mingo, who was about to unravel one of historyís greatest secrets: why Leonardo Da Vinci worked for years, until his death, on what would become the most famous and expensive artwork in history: the Mona Lisa hanging in the Louvre for centuries. And why does the image of Lisa Gherardini have that smile, which has baffled scholars and intrigued viewers for half a millennium now? It all becomes clear as ChloŽ and Rob decipher their fatherís mysterious, multi-dimensional life.


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