But before long, tragedy will strike Nic far closer to home. The main suspect's identity is known, but he remains untouchable, protected by a fleet of lawyers and a sinister cult known as the Ekstasists.
If Costa can crack the reasons for the cult's existence, he may well stand a chance of nailing his wife's killer. But the mystery will take him right back to Caravaggio himself and the reasons he had to flee Rome, all those centuries before.
©2008 David Hewson; (P)2008 WF Howes Ltd
David Hewson writes excellent & literate mystery-detective fiction. His character, Nic Costa, is a wonderfully three-dimensional, and his descriptions of Rome definitely give one a sense of familiarity with the city's flavor & history. This book is fairly complex, and very vivid in its descriptions of horrific killings reflecting the hideous deaths of various saints. The extremely bizarre practices of the group calling itself the Ekstasists pushes the envelope of believable perverted mental aberration --or maybe I'm naive. I don't recall a lot of hilarity in Hewson's books, but there is a scene near the end involving numerous nuns which had me cackling out loud at the grocery store.
The reader Saul Reichlin does a fine job of translating the book to audio form, with good pacing and voice, and succeeds in giving a very good performance while managing to not 'get in the way' of the book itself, meaning I was able to forget about the act of his reading and just take in the book.
I am a fan of David Hewson and have read most of his mystery/thrillers set in Italy. Once again, Hewson gives us several heroes although Dectective Nic Costa is regularly cited as the main character. Hewson gives almost equal billing to Leo the Chief Inspector, Gionni, Nic's partner and Theresa, the medical examiner/pathologist. Hewson again is able to place his stories and his characters in familiar Italian locations and cleverly tie his stories back to an earlier time. In this book, he makes Caravaggio almost a main character morphing the contemporary story back to Caravaggio's life in the early 17th Century.
The plot line strains even the most devoted reader's ability to suspend belief but remember this is a mystery/thriller and you get what you pay for. In earlier books, Hewson seems to give his female supporting characters the job of solving the mystery while credit for the solution stays with the male lead. This book is no exception. This time a young nun/sister/Caravaggio scholar is the real hero and along with Theresa helps Nic and the guys solve the crime.
This is not the best of the Coasta series but is worth the effort.
books and music
After listening to this book, I was ready either to hop on a plane and head for Rome, or to sign up for a very expensive tour that purported to follow in Caravaggio's footsteps. Hewson's novels keep getting better, and this one is fabulous, but, if you don't like paintings, history, art history or mysteries that link history with the plot, this isn't for you. It does require some attention to not only a somewhat improbable plot, but also quite detailed analysis of Caravaggio as a painter and historical figure. The attention is well-rewarded, as Nic Costa gets better and better--more complex, more interesting, and always on the verge of some new phase of his life.
The reader is great; the pace is fine, and the plot, though improbable, keeps racing along.
A thoroughly enjoyable book to listen to. And I think Hewson is generally better as an audiobook than a written one, so you can savor his sense of place.
after the other tepid reviews, i hesitated to purchase this book... I'm so glad i did! found the story gripping and intense, the characters fascinating, the juxtaposition of history and present exciting. the narration was wonderful: finally, someone who can pronounce Italian properly! if you enjoyed the Da Vinci code, i think you would enjoy this tremendously as well~ i couldn't put it down~
Does anybody remember the classic scene in the cowboy movies where the villain holds a gun to the heroine's head and orders the hero to drop his gun? I do. I also remember dozens of wise ten year olds yelling at the screen: "Don't do it. He's going to kill her anyway!" Unfortunately, whenever Hewson needs for the villain to escape, that's the only device he can come up with, except for one memorable instance when the hero gets a clear shot at the villain and, so help me God, the gun clicks on empty. PLEEEASE! I understand that the villain must triumph initially, or the book would be awfully short, but any author worth his salt can come up with something other than a worn cliche. There are other minor inconsistencies that don't stand up to logic, but it is a mostly a good read. I just wish the author had a better imagination.
I loved the setting,the storyline was unusual and the characters were not the standard. It had me engrossed form the first 5 minutes.
I generally listen to books related to history, had a whim and got this one and thoroughly enjoyed it. It has bits of history throughout the book wrapped into a fictional story that was entertaining and enjoyable. If you've ever been to Rome then this is a book to bring back a lot of memories of places around the city.
THis was a thoroughly enjoyable mystery set in modern day Rome. Well read, good suspense and creative concept. This is particularly fun if (1) you like Italy and (2) you like art. If those are not your thing, try another book.
I'm sure the book itself is fine but wow is the narration awful. I couldn't wait for this book to be over, and I mean that in a really bad way. The narrator has two speeds: irony and skepticism. And his breathy rendering of the women characters was just too much. Avoid.
To put it simply this is a pretty poor effort. I'll have to admitt that I only listened to a few hours of the book but it seemed much much longer as the narator is absolutely unendurable. A brit trying to sound italian and doing a bad job of it. I can't remember which famous author it was that suggested this book but I doubt that he ever listened to it.
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