Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of John Berendt's Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil
and Erik Larson's The Devil in the White City
, Douglas Preston weaves a captivating account of crime and punishment in the lush hills of Florence, Italy. Douglas Preston fulfilled a lifelong dream when he moved with his family to a villa in Florence. Upon meeting celebrated journalist Mario Spezi, Preston was stunned to learn that the olive grove next to his home had been the scene of a horrific double murder committed by one of the most infamous figures in Italian history. A serial killer who ritually murdered fourteen young lovers, he has never been caught. He is known as the Monster of Florence.
Fascinated by the tale, Preston began to work with Spezi on the case. Here is the true story of their search to uncover and confront the man they believe is the Monster. In an ironic twist of fate that echoes the dark traditions of the city's bloody history, Preston and Spezi themselves became targets of a bizarre police investigation. With the gripping suspense of Preston's bestselling novels, The Monster of Florence tells a remarkable and harrowing chronicle of murder, mutilation, suicide, and vengeance — with Preston and Spezi caught in the middle.
"Suspenseful...reveals much about the dogged writing team as well as the motives of the killers....this bit of real-life Florence bloodletting makes you sweat and think, and presses relentlessly on the nerves." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"Meticulous...Preston's commitment to untrammeled press freedom is inspiring. A cautionary saga about how the criminal-justice system can spin out of control." Kirkus
"Classic...It's almost easier to believe in Brazilian lizard gods than it is to think that something like that could happen in modern, enlightened Italy. But The Monster of Florence isn't a thriller. It's a perfect example of how sometimes truth really can be stranger than fiction, and even more horrifying." Foster's Daily Democrat
"Chilling...a perilous journey...reads like fast-paced fiction. That the story is true lends an edge to it that is rarely achieved in fiction." Bookpage
"The most memorable scene captures the collateral damage every murder inflicts...Preston is indeed a stranger in a strange land....Hard as this book is on the Italian legal system, a deep love for Italy, Italians and Italian culture permeates it. Particularly on the part of Preston, who often sounds like a man locked out of paradise." Seattle Post Intelligencer
"Think of the Zodiac Killer in San Francisco but without the taunting relationship with the public." New York Times
"As taut and tense as any of the author's bestselling thrillers...fascinating, stomach-churning...nerve-tingling action and vivid writing....The Monster of Florence is a gripping tale, filled with shocking crimes, boldly drawn characters, and the careening suspense of the ultimate whodunit." Dallas Morning News
"This gripping collaboration...is a most unconventional thriller, a real-life murder mystery in which the authors become the suspects....The fascinating story unfolds with memorable characters and dizzying plot twists....The writing is evocative, and the two collaborators skillfully weave the narratives back and forth to create, at times, a razor's edge of tension." Associated Press
About the Author
Douglas Preston worked as a writer and editor for the American Museum of Natural History and taught writing at Princeton University. He has written for the New Yorker, Natural History, National Geographic, Harper's, Smithsonian
, and the Atlantic
. The author of several acclaimed nonfiction books, Preston is also the co-writer with Lincoln Child of the bestselling series of novels featuring FBI agent Pendergast.
Mario Spezi, a highly decorated journalist, has covered many of the most important criminal cases in Italy, including those involving terrorism and the Mafia, and has been investigating the Monster of Florence case since its beginning. He has also published both fiction and nonfiction books in Italy and several other countries.