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by Michele Giuttari
Abacus, July 2007
352 pages
10.99 GBP
ISBN: 0349120056

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

The Italian version of this novel, Giuttari’s first, was published back in 2005 and it has taken two years for the English translation to reach these shores. However, it is clear from the beginning that the book is well worth the wait. A tightly crafted novel, oozing Italian culture, it grabs the reader from the very beginning.

Michele Ferrara is the head of Florence’s elite police force, the squadra mobile. Assigned to investigate a series of brutal murders, he soon realises that a serial killer is at work, but is at a loss to understand the links between the seemingly unconnected victims. However, as he begins to receive notes from the killer, he realises that he is a target himself. Will he solve the case or will he die trying?

Like Temperance Brennan in Kathy Reichs’ series, Michele Ferrara appears to be the author’s alter ego. Giuttari was involved in the Monster of Florence serial killer case, which gives the story a highly authentic feel.

The Italian setting is very real and the reader is given a genuine sense of the light and dark of Florentine society. Giuttari also creates a range of characters who work very well, although I felt that the identity of the killer was hinted at to the reader much too soon, thus reducing an element of the suspense. Nonetheless, Giuttari paints some interesting psychological portraits. I feel it is likely that he has many more stories to tell.

The novel reads well in English and the translator has not reduced its authenticity in any way. It is a shame that Howard Curtis does not get more credit, since he has done an excellent job here. Giuttari has written an excellent debut novel and A FLORENTINE DEATH is an excellent option for anyone who wants to get away from the mainstream serial killer stories of set in the UK or the USA.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, June 2007

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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