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3.0 out of 5 starsOkay for a beginning novel
Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2012
Like another reviewer, I read this book after reading the second Ferrara novel and while somewhat disappointed in this first attempt, I took note of Giuttari's progress as a writer since I thought the second one, A Murder in Tuscany, was exceptional. (A change in editor and/or translator may also have something to do with the improvement.) As it is, A Florentine Death has an interesting plot but gets bogged down in some extraneous details. The reader is able to identify the villain almost immediately, so the real suspense comes in seeing just how long it takes Ferrara and his team to track him down and to understand his motivation. It did seem to take a long time. A good deal of attention was paid to an appealing character, Valentina, although it was difficult to see just how she would fit into the murderer's plans until the near end. The capture of the murderer was, more or less, due to luck, as Ferrara thought, but the ending itself was pure gothic (and entirely satisfactory in an "eye for an eye" type of justice). The distractions had more to do with extraneous details...such as the mention of the Monster Case, which in the end, had nothing to do with this case. Dialogue could have been whittled down. Scenes were shifted from one to another without any transition to warn the reader. This may be due to the Kindle formatting and double spacing to show transitions would solve the problem easily. As it is, A Florentine Death is interesting as an introduction to a series featuring an intelligent police superintendent and the city of Florence.
I picked up this book after reading his second in the series, Death in Tuscany. It is obvious that M. Ferrara learned a lot between writing the first and second book. A Florentine Death is a bit weak on plot and character development, but it is very accurate as to siting and letting the reader in on the Italian mentality of how things work. This definitely is not on the same level as Donna Leone, but still enjoyable as light reading. I have ordered his third book from Amazon UK (as they don't seem to carry it in the US) and his 4th is scheduled to come out soon. I think this is an enjoyable series to read especially if you cannot afford the price of an airline ticket to go back to Italy any time soon.
After reading reviews suggesting this is a wonderful author I was disappointed, no where near the league of Nesbo. The characters are brittle but the storyline reasonably engaging. I have a major issue with a suggestion that a victim of rape would be equivocal in her reaction, and quite horrified that an ex police officer is promoting this view as plausible. It belongs in a bygone era. Probably will not be reading another Ferrara any time soon
4.0 out of 5 starsAnother great read from Giuttari
Reviewed in the United States on October 1, 2011
I've read three of Guittari's books, and as in the others, he has a twist in the book that you won't see coming (at least I didn't!). "The Death of a Mafia Don" was a little better than this one, but I definitely give him points for having a great imagination. This one also features a lot of police procedure, but wasn't as bogged down by it as some of his other books.
5.0 out of 5 starsBuy the whole series - they are brilliant!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 5, 2017
This is the first in a series of crime novels about Chief Superintendent Michele Ferraraof the Florence police. It is gripping, and the whole series deserves to be better known in the English-speaking world. The translation is good, idiomatic and fluent. A great discovery.