Top critical review
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(3.5 stars) A map of murder.....
on 30 January 2010
Or is it something else altogether? The basis of the novel and the mystery is Boticelli's famous painting Primavera. Asked to sit as "Flora" prostitute Luciana Vetra unknowingly says something that sends the artist into a fit of anger, and sent off without pay she decides to steal a smaller version of the painting (the artist would use this to *map out* his larger painting), but it doesn't take long before people are dropping dead left and right around her. Luciana eventually hooks up with a very good looking monk who goes by Brother Guido (who of course has not taken final vows yet) and the game is on to solve the pieces of the puzzle in the Primavera and stop "The Seven" before.......
Well, you know I can't tell you that don't you? This was a lot of fun and I enjoyed watching Luciana and Guido unraveling the clues that abound in every portion of this painting, as well as their own secret pasts (both are doozies). The story takes the pair from Florence to Pisa, Rome, Venice, Milan, Naples, near death on the high seas, a massive earthquake and even a spooky castle in the high mountains with a secret underground as they are chased by the ever-so-creepy leper with a talent for murder.
While I did enjoy the pairing of Luciana and Guido, I really would have liked to see less banter and more sexual chemistry between the two - this book is definitely heavy on the mystery and light on the romance. I also didn't care for the way Luciana was written, prostitute or no her language was extremely course and filled with potty words and I didn't warm to her as much as I should have. I also found her a tad bit too modern - using phrases like "get a move on" that just felt out of place - and for those reasons I'm knocking this one down a half star to 3.5/5. It was fascinating reading the minor bits and pieces that make up the whole painting (do read up on it), I'd love to see it in real life although most of those details would have gone right over my ignorant head. A very enjoyable and fast read and a nice mystery that keeps you guessing, but not quite up to four star material.