David Hewson has written a series of books set in Italy. This book, A Season for the Dead, is early in the series. The author describes Detective Ni..Show More »c Costa as his main character but after reading the series it appears that there are several main characters each developed in each of the books. The other main characters, Leo, a Chief Inspector, Lucca killed off early and Gionni, Teresa a female pathologist and Emily, a former FBI agent turned architect are all equally interesting and as developed as Nic Costa.
The author does a good job of researching the background of the stories and placing them in familiar landmarks of Rome. While there is occasional culture confusion with a British author writing about Italian police in Rome and being read by an American, the stories usually work. This one is no exception. The villain is always one step ahead of the police and barely has time to commit the most heinous and despicable crimes. The crimes in Season all revolve around the secret and not so healthy life of an American Cardinal in the Vatican. But, if you are reading this genre, you are used to the grisly deaths and the bizarre plot turns. And David Hewson does a good job at all these things.
I would advise reading the series in the order the books were written but I didn't do it that way and it has not been a real barrier since the main characters are each developed in each book.
At the end of his last book, The Lizard Bites, there is an excellent interview with the author that helps put the entire series in better perspective.
Hewson's books are great, but I far prefer the other narrator, the one who read The Sacred Cut and The Seventh Sacrament. This one, in addition to mis..Show More »pronouncing Italian words (which the other guy also did), reads all the dialogues with an Italian accent. This is absurd! Italians do not speak to each other in English with an Italian accent! Obviously they would speak in Italian and without a foreign accent, and since the book is in English, can't we just assume we are reading a translation into English of what they said, and dismiss the silly accents, please? As they stand, the accents are very distracting and make a caricature of what are otherwise excellent dialogues. Do listen anyway, though, because these are great books, engaging at every level and far better written than Dan Brown's.
Rome, the Pantheon, weird symbols and the Vitruvian Man all promised an involved story with some more "Da Vince Code-esque" nonsensical but thoroughly..Show More » 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.
I started late with this thriller series and am now trying to catch up with earier releases in chronological order.
At first I thought th..Show More »e Italian police investigators were a bit too stereotyped for my liking but the cast does grow on you. David Hewson´s novels are filled with excellent descriptions of Rome and Italy, and not only the tourist spots featured, for example, in Dan Brown´s work. The stories around Nic Costa and his entourage of colleagues are basically very interesting and cleverly plotted, and "The Lizard´s Bite", set near Venice, is no exception.
I also appreciate that all dialogue is not performed with some overdone weird Italian accent but in clear precise English and look forward to listening to all future releases from David Hewson.
David Hewson writes excellent & literate mystery-detective fiction. His character, Nic Costa, is a wonderfully three-dimensional, and his descrip..Show More »tions 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.
Got time on your hands? Want to escape it every now and then? Hewson's book is totally up to the job. He reminds me of a very adequate craftsman. But ..Show More »art without wonder is merely craft, eh?
I really wish they'd quit screwing with the titles on Hewson's books. I just got the audiobook, but there was some confusion until I read both descrip..Show More »tions & figured it out (I haven't seen anything to indicate that on the precis). I like Hewson's Nic Costa series, but keep thinking new ones have come out only to find they're old ones with different titles. (btw, "Dante's Numbers" = "Dante's Killings").
Will add a review after I actually listen to it (I gave it 4 stars because of his earlier books).
The Fallen Angel is the last of several David Hewson's novels about a group of Rome police detectives. While Nic Costa is considered the lead in the ..Show More »group, throughout the series, Leo the Chief Inspector, Gionni the long serving detective and Teresa, Gionni's wife and the police pathologist, all have their turns as the main character in the series. Others like Agatha, a nun turned art teacher, and Emily, Nic's architect wife murdered in an earlier book, all play important roles.
Equally important in the series are Hewson's literary device of tying each contemporary story into a parallel historical event and his use of Rome as the canvass for the action. If you haven't visited Rome, he helps you visualize it's wonder and, if you have been to Rome, he brings it back to life in your mind. In the Fallen Angel, Nic must discover whether a man's fall from a five story building was an accident or a reenactment of a tragedy that occurred on the same street in 1599. This is Hewson's best effort in the Nic Costa series. He is able to tell a story that unfolds and unfolds and unfolds and unfolds up to the final page. The story is excellent and the narration is, if possible, better. You won't be able to use you credits much better but be prepared for lots of "garage minutes."