Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Review: The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston & Mario Spezi

The Monster of Florence is the true story of Italy's most infamous serial killer; a killer who murdered fourteen young lovers and has never been caught due to a combination of lack of evidence and a great deal of police incompetence.

Both Douglas Preston & Mario Spezi, two reporters who covered the case through the years and became involved in the investigation, tell this story and it has all the characters that could be invented by a best-selling author; corrupt policemen, a mysterious killer, false suspects, interfering politicians and the mafia, however, in this case they are all real and readers must keep reminding themselves that this is a true story. The book also contains conflicting information to the official version as to the identity of  "The Monster" so from that perspective it is a controversial piece of work and is likely to stimulate further reading for those who will inevitably enjoy this account.

The authors' background as journalists allow them to avoid the chronological style of a scholar or police investigator and the result is an extremely well-told story using a set of facts that are fascinating on their own but when put together they becoming perfect plot components. The quality of the authors' style is such that at times the reader forgets that it is a work of non-fiction rather than a novel and is absorbed into the tale. Personally, I could not put this book down and despite its large size I finished it very quickly.

This is a well-written account of a fascinating serial killer and the authors skillfully reveal that the investigation itself is a story of its own; a story of a completely bungled investigation and the book is of interest on both accounts for students of crime and readers who enjoy strange plot twists

I highly recommend the Monster of Florence to all readers, particularly those who enjoy crime stories, either fictional or non-fictional; this will be one of the most memorable tales you have read. For those who are studying criminology, police investigation or similar subjects I would suggest that this book is essential reading.

Score: 10/10

1 comment:

Karl and Shel said...

The Monster of Florence is famous indeed. I regularly listen to the BBC podcast "Digital Planet" and I'm sure they reported on a tourist experience using a mobile phone to direct you in an immersion type information / voyeur re-enactment.
Thankyou for a good book review site.Your comments are well structured and honest. I am just starting my own book review site, slightly different to yours, so I hope we don't clash. Karl

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