Kultainen Leikkaus: The Sacred Cut (Nic Costa 03) by David Hewson


For the first time in decades The Eternal City is paralysed by a blizzard. And a gruesome discovery is made in the Pantheon – one of Rome’s most ancient and revered architectural treasures. Covered by softly falling snow is the body of a young woman – her back horribly mutilated . . . But before Costa, Peroni and Rome’s Questura can begin a formal investigation the US Embassy has brought in its own people, FBI Agents who want the case closed down as quickly and discreetly as possible.

But Costa is determined to find out why – and as the FBI grudgingly admits that this corpse is not the first, the mutilations of the woman’s body point to Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man – and to a conspiracy so sinister and buried so deep, that only two people know its true, crazed meaning.

The inside of the Pantheon dome with an open eye on top is pictured on the left top corner. Dark sky can be seen and snow is falling in. Title: Kultainen leikkaus (The Sacred Cut). Author: David Hewson. Publisher: Moreeni.

I am done with this series. It wasn’t enough for the author to insult all women but he had to throw gay men into the mix too with his feeble characterisations. Hewson simply can’t write romance and he shouldn’t even try. I’d prefer if Costa lived in a world where Santa delivers infants once a year and that’s how the human race survives, but I wouldn’t continue reading the books even then.

Hewson went from giving up on hiding the identity of the killer in the first book to writing a decent mystery in the second and now back to giving up in the third. There’s a plot twist towards the end that’s supposed to justify the humanisation of the killer and inserting his point of view in the book, but I just didn’t care anymore at that point.

By book three it’s the hero that’s supposed to keep me reading through the rough spots, but unfortunately Costa is just another Gary Stu whose personality has been replaced with vegetarianism and running. He has also inexplicably recovered from his accident and budding alcoholism too, which comes handy in attracting the cardboard cutout female characters who’ve never shown any real interest in him before. I lost the count on the kisses by the end but the feeling that everything after the first was too much remained.

Teresa Lupo has also mysteriously moved on from her heartache and nowhere in book two or three is it addressed how weird it is for her to be dating Costa’s partner, again. After first one died. I’d been fine with Lupo and Peroni had her moving on been explained better, or at all.

Falcone and Peroni are sharing Costa’s spotlight in this story and I wouldn’t mind it were Costa actually a strong enough character to survive the lack of further character development. I thought Hewson did an interesting thing in A Season for the Dead by showing how the jaded detective became an unhappy man deeply disappointed in life, but the author utterly failed to deliver the aftermath. Too much time has passed and apart from throwaway lines there’s nothing to show how Costa and Falcone became so close or how their mutual trust grew. Their scars and shadows don’t haunt them unless it’s convenient for the scene of the moment.

As a parting note to this author and all authors who write stories set in Europe with European characters and want to bring prominent American characters in to spice things up: Don’t.

Rating icon. A stack of books and the words a total failure and an outline of a skull and bones drawn over them.

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3 Responses to Kultainen Leikkaus: The Sacred Cut (Nic Costa 03) by David Hewson

  1. blodeuedd says:

    Ugh failure alert, staying away from that book

  2. xaurianx says:

    Wow. This sounds really bad.

  3. Thank you for your excellent reviews – I so won’t be reading that one.

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