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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still a good read
It was slightly disappointing to discover that Richard Montanari's new book was a diversion from the successful and superb series featuring detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne. That said, I settled down to give it a go and in the end, it proved to be a good choice.

The plot is somewhat far-fetched, but the same could be said of most thrillers. The chief...
Published on 15 Sept. 2009 by Phil Robertshaw

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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Richard Montanari - The Devil's Garden
Michael Roman is finally living the life he always dreamed of -- he has a successful career, a beautiful wife and adorable twin daughters. But his idyllic life is about to come crashing down around him - because Michael is a man with a past. A rising star in the New York District Attorney's office and on the cusp of enormous success, Michael's perfect life begins to...
Published on 18 Aug. 2009 by molko


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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Richard Montanari - The Devil's Garden, 18 Aug. 2009
By 
molko (Surrey) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
Michael Roman is finally living the life he always dreamed of -- he has a successful career, a beautiful wife and adorable twin daughters. But his idyllic life is about to come crashing down around him - because Michael is a man with a past. A rising star in the New York District Attorney's office and on the cusp of enormous success, Michael's perfect life begins to unravel when he finds himself the target of a depraved madman, a man who covets everything Michael has and will stop at nothing to take it all away.

In a desperate fight to survive, Michael is forced to confront the dark secrets of his past in order to save his family. He must hunt down the psychopath who is targeting his family and, before it is too late, face the devil himself...

This is a standalone thriller that is almost painfully slow to begin with and doesnt really get going until about a hundred or so pages in. The writing is good and the story line has a good amount of twists which I have come to expect from a Montanari story but there's just something missing. The characters seem a bit flat and as I was expecting a more police procedural style novel I was surprised by The Devil's Garden slightly supernatural element.

All in all not a bad read and readers unfamiliar with Montanari's previous work should be sufficiently impressed. However to those who have read and enjoyed his Philadelphia set Byrne & Balzano series it's unfortunately a bit of a let down. The story, characters and even the plot twists are most definately not up to scratch for Montanari.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let down, 26 Aug. 2009
By 
G. Howard "Gemsey" (london) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
The Devils Garden - Richard Montanari

Synopsis

Michael Roman and Abby Roman and their 4 year old twin daughters are just a normal working family living in suburbia. Their peace is destroyed when a lawyer is tortured to death. This lawyer is known to them. He worked illegimate adoption of their twin daughters from Estonia, the birth place of Michael's parents. The twins' biological family wants his daughters, who were snatched from their mother's bed, back. This psychopath will stop at nothing to get them back. Believing he can live forever he needs them to make this happen. He goes on a killing spree across the city. A NYPD detective is looking into the murder of the lawyer and is lead to Michael and his family. Will Michael and his family survive or will the psychopath get what's rightfully his.

My Opinion

This was a stand alone book of Richard Montanari. The first since the Balzano and Byrne series and I didn't know what to expect, and for me it wasn't as great as his previous books. I am normally sitting at the edge of my seat and shouting at anyone who interrupts. But with this book I could get that normal flow of reading. Yes there were gruesome torture scenes that Montanari writes so well. But it was the characters that just didn't do it for me. I hope he goes back to the Balzano and Byrne series as they were thoroughly entertaining.

I would give this 3 out of 5.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not his best, but still a good read, 15 Sept. 2009
By 
Phil Robertshaw (North Somerset) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
It was slightly disappointing to discover that Richard Montanari's new book was a diversion from the successful and superb series featuring detectives Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne. That said, I settled down to give it a go and in the end, it proved to be a good choice.

The plot is somewhat far-fetched, but the same could be said of most thrillers. The chief villain, while somewhat extreme, does have almost empathetic qualities, which is quite an achievement for Montanari to accomplish given that the character is trying to steal back the children he fathered, who were later adopted. There are some violent scenes here but they're also interspersed with slightly fantastical, dreamlike moments.

The Devil's Garden is a pretty good story but needs some perseverance to get into. The opening perhaps doesn't grab the attention as it should, and fans of Montanari might worry that he's going off the boil. However, all the qualities he brings to his writing are still there, and it soon comes to life. More meaty than the regular series, but with enough likeable characters and solid enough plot development to make it a good addition to Montanari's collection - even if it's not quite up there with the very high standards of the rest.

If you haven't read the author before, you don't need to have read the other books first as this is a stand-alone novel. But in my opinion, it's not the ideal starting point - go for the superb The Rosary Girls first. Otherwise, go ahead and read The Devil's Garden too.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars THE DEVILS GARDEN, 14 Aug. 2009
By 
ROSIE (N. Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
The Devils Garden - at last the long wait was over - i had the latest Montanari book - couldnt wait to read it - was it worth the wait? sadly - no - i dont think so.

The story centres around successful New York lawyer - Michael Roman, his wife and their 4 year old adopted twin daughters.

The girls were twins from a set of triplets (the 3rd was stillborn) born to a local 16 year old girl in a remote village in Estonia, she was the local 'soothsayer' she died a violent death the night of their birth. - their father a local man, named Aleksander Savisaar.who believed himself to be a 'Koschei' - an immortal, who according to Estonian folklore - is a being, who lives forever. He was enraged when he found out the girls had been adopted and vowed to find them and take them back to Estonia - their rightful home.

He discovers they are in New York and sets off to reclaim them ......

Although the book is well written - the prose and descriptions are clearly up to Mr. Montanaris usual high standard and evil and darkness pervade throughout the chapters - i cannot honestly say i though the book was anywhere near as good as his previous ones, indeed i would go so far as to say this is his weakest effort yet, as soon as i read the opening chapter, my heart sank, as i just knew how the story would go, as it has been done before, in varying degrees by other authors.

I was so excited when i got the book, after such a long wait, couldnt wait to read it, sadly it did not reach my expecatations, a really dissapointing read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was disappointed, 13 Sept. 2009
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This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
I look forward to Richard Montanari books as I find them fast paced and thrilling - this was disappointing. The combination of supernatural/mystic and child trafficking was frankly silly where I feel it was supposed to be menacing - the trade in children would be frightening enough without the rather fantastic aspects of the story.

There will be plenty of people who will enjoy this book - I was disappointed given previous outings but will look forward to the next book and hopefully a return to form
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty dire, 10 Oct. 2010
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
Fan's of Richard's work will be sadly disappointed with this novel. It's slow, the characters are more 2D than 3D, the description is pretty dire and to be honest the overall plot feels like its missing a hell of a lot. In fact, I'd even go so far as to wonder how this made it to publication when his Balzano and Byrne series is so much more vibrant. All in a novel that whilst it is a standalone, is one that I'd suggest that readers miss in order to concentrate on his more established work.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A change of direction, 19 Feb. 2010
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
I agree with many reviewers before me, that Montanari' s latest wasnt his best effort to date. I wouldnt go as far to say it is the weakest one, but it certainly is the most different, and that is not necessarily a bad thing considering that his last 3 novels were incredibly repetitive and more of the same would have been a bit too much to bear.
First off, there are hints of the paranormal in this novel which is a bit unusual and surprising coming from Montanari. Even the territory explored is different from his beloved Cleveland, cause the story starts in Estonia, where it is clear that the author made quite a bit of research on this country, its customs, history and people. And even a bit of russian folklore is thrown in. The story revolves around American hotshot lawyer, Michael Roman and his wife who live in the suburbs with their adopted twin girls. Life seems perfect, a loving marriage, a promising career and two adorable children. But Michael and his wife Abby have a secret.... one that both of them hope never comes to light. And when it happens, not even their worst nightmares would have prepared them for the darkness that was to come.
I enjoyed reading it all the way through. It is not Montanari's usual whodunnit, cause the cards are revealed early on. It's good enough, not excellent in my opinion (so wait for the paperback edition to come out) due to too much heroics on Michael's part that i found quite unrealistic considering he isnt exactly Steven Segal, but definitely a good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Devils Garden, 6 Sept. 2009
By 
Mrs. Tracy Flanigan "TLC" (Northern Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
I have loved Richard Montanari's writing from the moment I read Rosary Girls but I have to say that this one left me a little disappointed. It didn't have his usual gritty, darkness and although I kept turning the pages I didn't feel satisfied at the end of the book. Hope his next book gets him back on top form.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Estonian folklore takes vengeance in U.S. suburbs, 7 Oct. 2009
This review is from: The Devil's Garden (Hardcover)
A very straightforward story from Montanari in that the plot has few twists but it hangs together by being very tight and absorbing in the way a classic page-turner does. A successful New York District Attorney adopts twins from Estonia. These girls are associated with local folklore/ legend which comes back as vengeance in the suburbs as the DA has to fight for his daughters and his life. Overall I read the book in two sittings and found it enjoyable, but not particularly special.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quality thriller., 1 Jan. 2015
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This is an entertaining and engrossing thriller. It focuses on the Roman family who appear to have a near perfect existence. Michael Roman is a successful New York ADA. Wife Abby has abandoned training as doctor in order to take up the more rewarding role of an ER nurse. The couple have beautiful twin daughters. They live in a lovely house in a pleasant town. However, there is a psychopath on his way to New York. He has one specific agenda which will bring him into direct collision with the Romans. His primary purpose is not their murder but he will not hesitate to kill them or anyone else who gets in his way. As the body count rises and the police begin to circle, Michael and Abby must use their wits and ingenuity to save the family from terror and tragedy.
The book has all the hallmarks of a quality thriller. It's fast paced and the tension is maintained from start to finish. The characterisation is excellent. We get inside the heads of the main protagonists and share their heightened emotions. The thing that impressed me particularly, was the characterisation of the villain. He Is not just a bad guy, but a complex individual. Although obviously deranged, he has clear and to him logical, motivation for his deeds. It was difficult not to feel some empathy with him while still wanting him to get his comeuppance.
Within the novel there are also hints of supernatural forces at work. They do not impinge on the action in any significant way and there's scope for the reader to accept these undertones or posit a more rational explanation. They just add a little more spice to the reader's experience.
An all-round good read.
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The Devil's Garden
The Devil's Garden by Richard Montanari (Paperback - 19 Aug. 2010)
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