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The Sacred Cut
Synopses & Reviews
The snow is falling on the ancient streets of Rome. And in the heart of the city, under the Pantheon’s great dome, a woman’s body lies on the marble floor, carefully positioned with a gruesome carving on her back....In David Hewson’s ingenious new thriller, this horrific murder hurtles Rome’s police force into a collision with U.S. agents–and a secret that has festered for fifteen years, now unraveling in the world’s most enigmatic city.
When Detective Nic Costa arrives at the scene, he is unprepared for what he finds, or for the ambush that leaves his only witness vanished into the night. The dead woman was American. Within hours, U.S. agents descend with a take-no-prisoners style and a shocking story to tell: the killer has struck before, in monuments all over the world, leaving the same cryptic message carved onto the bodies of the victims.
But one agent, beautiful, blond Emily Deacon, has yet another story to tell Nic–about a stunning act of deception that may lead back to the U.S. government, and her own chilling, personal connection to the killer. Now, as the first murder leads to more grisly slayings and a motley crew of veteran Roman cops jousts with the Americans, Nic is pulled into a woman’s harrowing search for the truth…a search that will take them both into the mind of a madman, into a shocking conspiracy–and into a dark episode in a nation’s long-forgotten past.
From its haunting opening to its nerve-shattering climax, The Sacred Cut defies all our expectations, proving once again the unique and compelling genius of David Hewson.
"A young Iraqi refugee named Laila provides both the heart and the McGuffin in Hewson's elegant new thriller, the third featuring tough Roman detectives Gianni Peroni and Nic Costa (A Season for the Dead and The Villa of Mysteries). Laila inadvertently witnesses a brutal murder in Rome's Pantheon and earns the guardianship of the top cops. Childless pathologist Teresa Lupo becomes a surrogate mother to the waif as the team slowly closes in on the killer. The position of the naked corpse suggests Leonardo da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man, and carvings on the victim's flesh depict the mystical symbol of the novel's title. The novel seems headed for Dan Brown territory, but Hewson's clever puzzle remains just that, a tantalizing challenge to the detectives and to the encroaching FBI, led by abrasive agents Joel Leapman and Emily Deacon. The perp, it seems, is a serial killer who has similarly carved several victims around the world. Though the novel unfolds via familiar genre conventions — creepy passages from the killer's perspective revealing equal parts of evil and genius, turf skirmishes between our Roman heroes and the FBI suits, imperiled female victims — Hewson's solid writing and multidimensional characters command attention from start to finish of this smart, literate thriller." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
When Detective Nic Costa arrives on a murder scene, he isn't prepared for what he finds--nor for the ambush that sends his only witness vanishing into the night. As the first murder leads to more grisly slayings, he uncovers a trail of deception that might lead to the U.S. government.
About the Author
David Hewson is the author of several travel books and seven novels, including The Villa of Mysteries, A Season for the Dead, and Lucifer’s Shadow, which are available from Dell. A weekly columnist for the Sunday Times, he lives in Kent, England, where he is at work on the next Nic Costa thriller, The Lizard’s Bite, coming from Delacorte Press in 2007.
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