The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Thriller writer Douglas Preston moved to Italy, only to find out the nearby olive grove was the scene of a ghasty double murder. Preston and the journalist originally covering the investigation, Mario Spezi, dig into the case of the Monster of Florence, even winding up being investigated themselves...
I know I made the synopsis sound like a thriller but this is non-fiction, the account of an Italiatian serial killer and his murders. It's a facinating journey into a reign of terror that lasted decades and into the psychology of the killer, the Italian press and justice system.
Preston writes the tale in an engaging way, making me forget I was reading nonfiction at times. The Monster of Florence's crimes were brutal and the descriptions of the murders can be somewhat graphic. Each of the suspects almost seemed tailor-made for a book of this type. Spezi's, and later Preston's, frustration was almost tangible. (view spoiler)[The one thing that reminded me that I wasn't reading fiction is that the Monster of Florence was never caught! (hide spoiler)]
Fun fact: The Monster of Florence, the man, not the book, was a partial inspiration for parts of Hannibal by Thomas Harris.
That's about all I can say without revealing too much. Read it yourself and get drawn into the web of deceit, murder, mutilation, vengeance, and corruption. And you'd be well served to never get suspected of a crime in Italy.
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