Book Review--The Monster of Florence


A friend recommended The Monster of Florence to me, and after hearing the title and seeing the cover, my first inclination was to ask if it was scary.

"I don't do scary," I told her.

But she assured me it wasn't. 

"I mean, it's a true story about a serial killer," she said, "and the character of Hannibal Lecter was based on the Monster of Florence, but it's not really scary."
Good, that makes me feel so much better, I thought.
But I ignored my better judgment and borrowed it from her anyway.
This is the true story of a serial killer who roamed the Florentine countryside in the 1980s and killed 14 people--7 young couples. The Monster was never caught.

Two decades later, bestselling American author Douglas Preston moved his family to Italy so he could do research for a mystery novel. The house his family was living in happened to be right next to one of the Monster's crime scenes, and so Preston becomes caught up in the story himself, working with Italian journalist Mario Spezi to go back through the evidence and visit the crime scenes, hoping to finally learn the truth about the Monster.

It's an extremely interesting story, and this book itself is an excellent example of writing nonfiction that reads like fiction. The story kept me reading long after I should have been asleep, because I wanted to know what happened to the Monster. With all the facts and evidence, I expected it to drag a bit, but it really didn't. It felt exciting and believable all at the same time. And even more horrifying because it's 100% true.

As Preston and Spezi get deeper into the dust-covered Monster files, they discover long-lost secrets and unearth evidence suggesting that the Italian police force might even be guilty of cover-up. The two writers themselves are accused of planting evidence and become the target of the investigation.

This book was a great read, and I'm glad the possibility of it being scary didn't deter me. It actually wasn't scary, strange as that may sound, and if I didn't find it scary, no one will.

That being said, now I'm not so sure I want to visit Florence any time soon.

{Also worth noting: I started George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones.}
Anonymous said...

Great review. I'll have to pick it up. My queue is getting longer and longer and longer...


Unknown said...

Good golly I'm good at recommending books!