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A Season for the Dead (Nic Costa) Paperback – 28 Sep 2018
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|Paperback, 28 Sep 2018||
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Young detective Nic Costa is first on the scene when a man is shot dead by Vatican security guards. Had he been about to shoot himself or murder his ex-lover, historian Sara Farnese? Nic is drawn into a complex plot involving banking, corruption, Vatican politics...and a lot of increasingly gruesome murders. There is a further complication for Nic when he finds himself falling for the enigmatic Sara.
Although the plot moves along at a fair pace, the author also takes time to let us get to know Nic. As the novel starts, he is still a little naïve and idealistic but gradually he comes to recognise that people are not always what they seem. We meet his father, Marco, a communist and atheist, who has clearly been a huge influence on Nic's life and beliefs but who is now dying. This strand of the book is handled very well, never toppling over into sentimentality or mawkishness.
The Roman setting for the novel added an extra element of interest. Hewson painted a vivid picture of a tourist-filled city baking in the summer heat and of the simmering resentments between the Roman police and the autonomous Vatican state.
A very enjoyable read. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.
Inextricably involved in a dark and murderous investigation, Sarah's path crosses with young, up-and-coming Roman detective Nic Costa - a man far removed from the normal eligible men she meets. Costa loves the art of Carvaggio, has an undeniable appreciation of Roman architecture and a passion for his work.
Soon the pair are on a collision course with an enemy more dangerous than they could ever imagine.
This is the first in a series of books featuring Costa as the central character and whilst I admit that the whole trend for writing a character series is starting to grate on me - everyone, it seems, is doing it and, if you know that this is the first in a series of books about one character then you pretty much know that at least one of the story's central players will survive the carnage - Hewson manages to avoid making me constantly aware of his long term goal with some powerful plotting and neat characterisation.
Some of it, it has to be said, is a bit thin, though, which is why it gets four stars only. Nic's relationship with his father seems to be a device of convenience which, I assume, is intended to humanise him for the reader and give him some sort of back story as a counterpoint ot his professional life as a policeman. The romantic elements of the story, also, are somewhat ham-fisted, as though Hewson feels they ought really to be there to add texture to the characters but can't quite bring himself to abandon his inhibitions and write it for real (or maybe can't quite work out exactly how his characters might behave in those circumstances).
In and of themselves, these are not major flaws - but they do have the rather unfortunate consequence of sucking the pace out of an otherwise rollicking good read.
There's just a hint of Angels and Demons about it - but only insofar as the setting and ecclesiastical elements of both are very similar. Certainly, though, the storyline is original (at least as far as any serial-killer-on-the-loose novel can be). The pace is tight, the detail sufficient to let you know how and why each character gets to where they are at any given point, but not enough to bog you down and the dialogue perfectly natural.
All in all, a good read.
I downloaded a sample chapter onto my Kindle of the first in the series about Italian detective, Nic Costa - A Season For The Dead - but it wasn't long before I was buying the complete book. I later discovered that I already owned this book in paperback - it was sitting on a shelf, hidden within a crime fiction collection box and I was sorry I hadn't discovered it earlier.
I like David Hewson's style of writing - it's very detailed and descriptive and flows easily from the page. His knowledge and interest in religious art and history is used cleverly to draw the characters in and move the plot along, blending well with the narration. I didn't feel as though I was being given a factual lecture on the era when I was reading it and the way he describes places in Italy makes me want to visit there again.
Suffice to say, since reading a couple of Dan Brown books, including The Da Vinci Code, I'm not a keen fan of religious crime thrillers and if it hadn't have been for David Hewson's decriptive style of writing, I probably wouldn't have been drawn to this book. I did find the plotline a bit complex at first, but once I'd got to grips with the Italian names and places, I was absorbed into the story and characters and had to keep reading to find out what happened to them.
A Season For The Dead introduces young Italian detective, Nic Costa. The setting is present day Rome and the opening scene begins with a death in the library of the Vatican. In this book, there is murder and intrigue, romance and sex, history, art and religion; but best of all there is depth to the characters and I felt as though I knew these people by the time I finished reading.
This is not a `whodunnit' as the serial killer is revealed during the first half of the book. What is not revealed though is why and this becomes the mystery that drives the book to the surprise finale. Nic Costa comes across as a naive detective at the beginning of his career but the case impacts him and his family in more ways than one and by the time the book has finished, Nic had changed both as a man and a detective.
I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.
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Most recent customer reviews
Alright book with an interesting story. Atrocious narrator.
Sean baker is embarrassingly worthless at reading this story.Read more