Nic Costa and his partner Gianni Peroni are called to reports of an intruder. Instead they find a woman's naked body, scarred in a geometric pattern. Almost immediately they are met by a team from the FBI determined to take over an investigation into what they claim is a killer murdering American tourists around the world, in ways which link back to the mystical structure of the Pantheon itself.
But one agent, Emily Deacon, has a different story to tell, one that has a tragic personal dimension. Through her and an elusive Iraqi girl Laila, only witness to the death in the Pantheon, Nic Costa is pulled relentlessly into the world of the Iraq war and the shadowy secret agents whose job was to penetrate the regime of Saddam Hussein before the armed forces attacked.
Soon he is aware that there is a conspiracy at the heart of these deaths which runs back to Washington, and the past of Emily Deacon's dead father, a tangle of connections he has to unravel, even if it comes at a considerable personal and professional cost. A madman is loose in the frozen winter landscape of Rome, and as Costa soon realises, he is one the American agents know only too well.
©2005 David Hewson; (P)2005 W.F. Howes Ltd.
Rome, the Pantheon, weird symbols and the Vitruvian Man all promised an involved story with some more "Da Vince Code-esque" nonsensical but thoroughly enjoyable conspiracies. Not so this time. This is a bog-standard detective story with a twist that leaves you saying "Oh - was that all?". I puffed my way through it in the gym expecting at any moment that it would liven up, but sadly it plodded through to a rather mediocre ending. Actually, I was kind of hoping something really really awful was going to happen to a few main characters because I really couldn't care less what happened to them.
On the positive side this is well-narrated with good character voices, the descriptions of Rome are engaging and if you've visited (what do you mean you haven't? EVERYONE must go to Rome at least once...) it will be quite vivid. The ending is neat if a little cheesy, and there are a few moments of genuine tension.
As per several of my other reviews I wish Audible would start a ratings system similar to movies. In the UK I would give this a "15" for obscene language and blasphemy, which is narrated with stomach-churning enthusiasm. Oh how I wish authors could leave this out! It spoils so many potentially good stories and is quite unnecessary. John Grisham is a good example of how to write brilliantly without foul and offensive language.
The plot gets lost in ponderous narrative and monotone narrator. This story is promoted as a thriller/serial murder mystery but turns out to be a longwinded novel.
The plot of the book was pretty good, but the characterization of southerners was a bit hard to take. I cringed every time I heard the word “yall” used in the second person singular. Southerners usually use “you” as the second person singular and reserve “you all” or “yall” for the second person plural. We may have some colloquialisms, but we aren’t grammatically ignorant, as almost every character in this book is depicted as being. The over done accents and misused “you all” made listening to the book a challenge, even when I was interested in the plot.
I'm an avid listener. Audio books are a mini-vacation for me. They fill my "need to read" when I don't have time - which is most of the time. Great element of multi-tasking!
While the characters are well drawn and the Italians are well portrayed (even though the narrator has an English Accent!!),the American dialects are so distracting as to be laughable and/or irritating. Great story, though.
This is a very talky mystery but the mystery is more when is will end. It ends with a whimper whereby the killer just fades into the jail and the "cast" talks some more. I listened until the story quit.
This is a really great listen. I listen to A LOT of books & this is one of the best.
It is a very good thriller with a similar thematic to the Da Vinci Code... but not at all a rip off.
For sure a must read
This is one of the best books I heard lately.It is well written and tells not only a story with great characters, but shows a lot of the conveluted and corrupt mechanisms of States. The person is nobody, the interests of of a State and it's minions, all.This is book 3 in a great series. Since I could not find the other ones as audios, I bought the books. Great reads!!!!!
This is without a doubt the worst book I have ever listened to. Im not sure which was worse, the abysmal reading or the incredibly inept dialogue. The reader attempted accents that were far beyond his abilities that were neither convincing nor consistent. He must have put little time and effort into actually reading the book before he read it as he regularly expressed emotions incorrectly. E.g. 'You wont get away with this' Nic shouts angrily, is read in a mincing, whiney voice that sounds anything but angry. Then there is the dialogue, which is so totally unrealistic that it must have been written by someone who has spent his entire life living under a rock.
If you can actually get past the pathetic reading, ridiculous characters and the incredibly unreal dialogue, you may discover that there is actually the skeleton of a good story line. This story line was unfortunately spoiled by writing and reading styles so obnoxious, they leave me wondering how this book ever got published.
Save your money, there are plenty of other good books out there.
Good fast paced police/spy thriller with excellent delivery by the reader. The characters have depth and are believable, the story intriguing with good well thought out plot. A very enjoyable listen, I would be interested in more from this author and reader.
"Please record more!!"
First time had 'read' anything from David Hewson and thought it was excellent - please get more!!! Well plotted with explanations which fit into the flow of conversation and discovery - and a couple of unexpected twists. Most enjoyable.
"Great book - well read."
Good plot, marvellous setting and great characterisation but what really makes the book come alive is the skill of the narrator. Has made me want to read more David Hewson and listen more to Saul Reichlin.
"Worst impulse buy ever!"
I totally agree with Bryan on this one. I got this audiobook on an impulse, I quite like thrillers/espionage/police dramas. Not a lot of them but when they are good I can't resist. So in light of the buzz and the glowing reviews for this book I got it, thinking it would be awesome. I was hugely disapointed, I mean surely its not asking for much when your asking for a plot of some description. Or some characters which are believably, even 2D would have been fine if I could have cared at all about them. I finished the book out of sheer determination alone and most of that was painful, listening to the oh so obvious 'twists', figuring out back at the beginning of the book who it was, what all the 'clever' connections were. Please people don't get this book - two others which are significantly better are A Death in Vienna by Daniel Silva and The Double Eagle by I forget who.
"Dissapointing and laboured end to a good book"
This book comes in two sections - the first cracking and interesting, draws the reader in. The second half starts out well but the story continues a good hour and a half longer than it needed to and loses all goodwill it had engendered thus far.
Very, very disappointing. No need to spoil a good book like that.
"The Sacred Cut (Disappointing for me too)"
I have to agree with Bryan and Hannah's reviews, I thought this book was rather lacking of any believable or tangible plot.
I must admit, I was swayed by the positive reviews on this site to purchase the book and I am glad I didn't pay the full price as I think I would have been put off from any future purchases.
However, I will state that the reader was superb and I would like to listen to other books he has read.
"Thoroughly enjoyable and engaging ..."
A really well paced book that kept me hooked. I also easily identified with the 'large organisation' mentality too and the grey men pulling the strings. Will definitely read another by this author, and the reader was good too.
Had never heard of this author before, but chose it as it was a good long listen and sounded good. We weren't disappointed! Great plot and believable characters. Disappointed when it finished! I'll be looking for more by David Hewson. Well read by Saul Reichlin.
Great story line that captures the listener and gathers them in.
I really enjoyed this, it was nice not to be in the USA, UK or the usual places that seem to attract crime writers. Being in Italy and Rome was refreshing and the story being a mix of crime/spying was well put together, the fact that the setting was Rome made the story even more enjoyable for me.
Clever ending to the story, which was unexpected.
Loved this, will try further novels by this author.
"Good story content enjoyed it."
Certainly not one of my favourites but enjoyable. Different twist on a murder enquiry with some unusual charactors. Kept my attention to the end. Having visited Rome recently was able to relate to the locality.
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