'Compelling drama ... The gripping strength of the novel lies in its passionate portrayal of a corrupt and criminal Italy, from seedy traffickers to the Vatican' The Times.
'One of those rare novels that brings together the best elements of literature ... and a nonstop thriller that drives readers relentlessly from first page to last' Jeffery Deaver.
'Utterly compelling' Peter May.
'Costantini pushes all the right buttons' Seven magazine.
'Sprawling, violent and beset by a tortured morality, this is a compelling vision of modern Italy' Mail on Sunday.
'A remarkably dark thriller ... The author combines the plotting and pace of international crime with the poise and prowess of literary fiction, striating the narrative with topical political insight' ShotsMag.
'[A] sprawling tale of personal and political corruption, expediency and revenge' Guardian.
'An ambitious book in which the corruption of the state, the police, business and the remnants of the aristocracy [...] are implicated in an effort to relate individual experience to the condition of the nation' Times Literary Supplement.
From the Inside Flap
Rome, 1982. On the evening of Italy's winning the football World Cup in Spain, an eighteen-year-old female employed by by the Vatican's housing agency disappears into thin air. The investigation is given to a young officer, Michele Balistreri. Headstrong and arrogant, Balistreri takes the case lightly, and it is only when a gruesome discovery is made on the banks of the Tiber that he realizes the terrible cost of his negligence. Rome, 2006. While Italy celebrates its first World Cup triumph in twenty-four years, journalist Linda Nardi is busy investigating a series of brutalities against young women. Although the murders have been pinned on a group of juveniles from the city's immigrant community, Nardi is exploring a more sinister possibility, at the personal request of the head of Rome's Special Foreign Section, Michele Balistreri. Balistreri, despite having risen to one of the highest ranks in the Italian police, is still plagued by the tragedy that marked his early career. Suspecting the recent crimes to be the work of a serial killer, he hopes that stopping this murderer will help to assuage the crippling guilt and regret that he has shouldered for over two decades. For Nardi - a relentless and enigmatic investigative journalist - Balistreri's proposition has presented a golden opportunity. If the nation is being misled as to the true nature of the crimes, she can expose the conspiracy and help to combat the corruption and racism that has become endemic in Italian society. One is fighting to fix the past, the other to fix the present. Yet these battles will prove to be shockingly linked: for the evil Nardi now seeks has marked Balistreri once before, and its malevolent trail goes way higher, and way further back, than either of them dared imagine.