'The Rosary Girls' begins when a young girl has been found murdered with her hands bolted together as well as other sickening mutilations and rosary beads between her fingers. Called to investigate are long-time homicide detective, Kevin Byrne and his new partner, Jessica Balzano. More girls, with the only connection to each other being that they attend catholic schools, are found in similar conditions every day leading up to Easter. With time running out and next to no clues on who and where the killer will strike next, Byrne and Balzano are in a race against time to stop one of Philidelphia's worst serial killers.
This is the first book that I've read by Richard Montanari (and the first of his that was released in the UK) and is definitely not the last as 'The Rosary Girls' is well up there with the likes of Thomas Harris' Silence of the Lambs and James Patterson's Kiss The Girls. I've now ordered the second Byrne and Balzano novel, The Skin Gods, and am really looking forward to giving it a read!
From the opening chapter I was completely gripped by the storyline. Montanari really knows how to write a good thriller - just when I thought I'd worked out who the killer was (on a number of occasions) he turns the story completely around, making me think it was someone completely different! The setting is dark and gritty, showing you the most violent and seedy sides of Philedelphia. The lead characters Byrne and Balzano are very likeable and believable (although some of the crime fiction detective stereotypes are still there) and are ones that I look forward to see how they develop in future novels.
Overall it is a very entertaining read and one of the best that I've read in a long time. If you're after a real whodunnit, with plenty of twists and suspense, as well as some really good characters, look no further than 'The Rosary Girls'. 10/10!