In a hushed Vatican Reading Room, the scene is shocking: a crazed professor shot dead after brandishing evidence of a grisly crime. Moments later, two bodies are found in a nearby church, each with a gruesome calling card from their killer.
Detective Nic Costa is one of the first on the scene. A cop who barely looks his twenty-seven years, Nic soon meets a woman who will dominate both his thoughts—and his investigation. A cool, beautiful professor of early Christianity, Sara Farnese was in the Vatican Library on that fateful day, a witness to her colleague’s outburst and grotesque death.
And as more bodies are found, her role becomes even more baffling…because each victim had intimately known Sara, a woman whose history becomes more lurid and unfathomable with each revelation. Until the case takes a sudden, strange turn—and the secrets of a woman, a killer, and a city begin to unravel…with devastating consequences….
This is one of those mysteries where the author throws up his hands and says: “I give up.” He doesn’t even try to hide the killer’s identity. Instead he focuses on creating engaging characters and obscuring the puzzle pieces so that the reader must rush through the pages to find out how the murders were committed. And why.
It works here. Hewson has created a truly interesting character in Nic Costa and I fear I’m going to be stuck with him at least as long as I can find the books at the local library. As a youngest child and a runner at heart, Costa doesn’t seem to fit the archetype of a jaded but uncorrupted police who is stuck doing the menial job of solving commonplace killings. His temper is intriguing.
Of course Hewson fixes that later, I’m just sad that it has to involve a doomed love affair. The book would be so much better without the misguided attempt to write romance let alone the one who got away kind of love story that’ll probably define Costa’s future character development. Not that he doesn’t have more pressing concerns at the end of the book.
As for the murder mystery. It’s the typical serial killer stuff with hints of religiousness added to the gore. I’m always interested in seeing things go wrong within the church, but I was hoping more I got from that front.
It’s an entertaining story but it isn’t anything ground breaking. The book might be a tad too heavy for beach reading, but there are always ebooks, I think. Then again, the book is ten years old, so you might have read it already.