Saturday, November 20, 2010


Pages: 398
Date: 20/11/2010
Grade: 4.5
Details: no. 9 Nic Costa
            ARC send to me to review by EASON Book Club

This title is to be published February 4, 2011.

This is the ninth book in the Nic Costa series and before I begin my review I have to admit that I didn't read any of the previous titles.
The story starts with Rome detective Nic Costa being the first person on the scene when British academic Malise Gabriel falls to his death from an apartment. He finds the death man being cradled by his young daughter Mina. From that first moment onwards Costa is intrigued by the teenager and the impression she gives of having something she needs to say but can't.
Although it's not immediately clear that this was more than a tragic accident a tentative investigation is started by the police. An investigation that gains speed when the apartment is emptied of its contents within a day of the death and the disappearance of Mina's brother.
When another death occurs in the same building and the family of the academic proves not only very uncooperative but also uninterested in discovering what happened, everybody's suspicions are roused.
The death shows shocking similarities to the 16th century legend of Beatrice Cenci, a young noble woman who was tortured and executed by the Vatican after she and her family killed her father, who was abusing her.
Is this really a case of history repeating itself, or is there a darker, more hidden explanation. And with none of the people involved prepared to give honest answers to questions, will Costa and his colleagues ever get to the bottom of this case.
This is a very well written book. It is as much about the characters involved, the relationships between them and their emotions as it is about solving the mystery. I would call this a mystery rather than a thriller, and there are a lot of psychological undercurrents. Rome in the height of summer, is a wonderful setting and almost a character in the story in itself.
The mystery is well plotted. Every time the reader thinks she knows what's going on another twist is introduced. And when I finally thought I had it all worked out, the author had one more surprise in store for me.
Yes, I think I might have gotten more out of this book if I had read the previous titles in the series, but I don't think I missed out on much. This book can very well be read and enjoyed on its own, although it might entice you to go back and read the first 8 books. I know I will be looking for those now. I found myself another author to add to my list of "must reads".

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