Source: Review Copy
Publication: 3 May 2018 from Simon & Schuster UK
The second novel from the acclaimed author of Kill the Father, a Richard and Judy 2017 Bookclub pick and Sunday Times bestseller, this thriller is multi-layered, complex, full of twists and turns and satisfyingly dark – one of those novels you just have to read late into the night.
A high-speed train from Milan draws into the station in Rome, and an horrific discovery in one carriage rocks the city. Preliminary investigations are put in the hands of Deputy Police Commissioner Colomba Caselli.
The police receive a message claiming responsibility for the act and announcing more murders to come, and they duly turn their attention to a small terrorist group of Islamic extremists. But investigator Dante Torre does not believe this angle. For him, this feels like a smokescreen concealing the actions of a killer who has a far more terrible motivation to continue.
The trail leads to Berlin and Venice, where the waters of the Venetian Lagoon will turn blood red …
Do you ever get butterflies in your stomach when you hold a book you have waited months for? I do. I was so excited by this because loved Kill The Father, the first book. Although you can read this book as a stand-alone, you will get more from it if you read Kill the Father first. I couldn’t wait to get stuck into the new adventures of Colomba Caselli and Dante Torre.
Dazieri has created the most compelling detective duo since Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin. These two fractured, lonely personalities work well together, one inside the law, one outside. That is, until Caselli, who has only recently re-joined her team, steps on the wrong toes and is put on suspension.
A deadly poison attack on a first class train carriage. ISIS claims responsibility, but Dante Torre has his doubts. Following the obvious leads, the Police arms up and en masse heads for a local mosque where a combination of police hard headedness and local unrest turns the whole affair into an unholy mess.
Torre’s special skill, honed after years kept locked in the silo, is his ability to read people and situations. And he knows that the signs being left for them are planted; deliberate misdirections to keep them away from the real purpose of these killings.
Who then is responsible and why? This complex, twisted, multi-layered novel takes the reader on quite a journey, both in time and geography, as we unpeel the layers to understand that the genesis of these murders, and the murders that will follow, lies deep in the past during the Cold War with the Soviet Union.
Though by no means a short book, it is terrifically easy to read because Daziere’s writing is so sharp and terse. I can visualise these scenes so well; his style is cinematographic and that really builds the tension and suspense.
Daziere ekes out his character development in teaspoons. We learn a little more about Caselli and again not much more about Torre, but the small details all help us to understand what may be going on in their heads.
As the duo follow the small trail of breadcrumbs through Germany and back to Italy, they face both danger and duplicity. It is hard to know who, if anyone, can be trusted, which suits Dante, who trusts no-one except Caselli.
Dazieri excels in his creation of evil characters and in this novel, he has outdone himself. The devil here is in understanding who is more evil than the rest, for this is a dark psychological thriller with more than one serial killer.
My heart was pounding, my tummy butterflies were fluttering and my eyes could not move from the pages until I had finished this gripping and fantastic book. It is intense and propulsive.
And once I had finished – well, what an ending. This is a writer who knows how to keep a reader on the hook, and I am but mere bait – eager, willing, nay even excited bait – for the next novel in the sequence.
As for those butterflies in my tummy – Daziere has the last word. “We call it a butterfly. For a caterpillar, it is the end of the world”.
Kill The Angel goes straight onto my must read list.
A shout out too, to Anthony Shugaar, whose translation was so idiomatically perfect that I completely forgot I was reading a book in translation, which is all you can ask for but nowhere near as easy as it sounds.
About Sandrone Dazieri
Sandrone Dazieri was born in Cremona (Italy) in 1964. He graduated at San Pellegrino Terme hotel-management school and worked as a cook for years, all around Italy. After having moved to Milan he started working in a number of jobs, from seller to porter, and played a very active role in the italian anti nuclear movement.
In 1992 he got closer to publishing working as freelance journalist ad expert of underground culture and cyberpunk fiction.
In 1999 he achieved his first popular success with the thriller “Attenti al gorilla” (Watch Out For The Gorilla), the first in a best-seller series, where the main character is a sort of doppelgènger of Dazieri himself, living the nightlife in Milan with all the ensuing troubles. Dazieri’s books are renowned for the rocambolesque adventures in which Sandrone (the main character has the author’s name too) is continuously involved, in an irrefrenable but never fatalistic destiny. It is in fact Sandrone’s personality that always drives him to assist the weak and derelict, those who have lost all hope for help but for the Gorilla’s saving hand. Among a thousand contradictions, he’ll confront all sorts of dangers, in the best tradition of hardboiled thrillers, and aided by his alter ego called Socio (the rational side of Sandrone, in a split-personality condition), our hero will happily finalise and conclude many chilling and hair-raising situations.
Dazieri wrote many other noir novels, kids novels, comics and short stories.
He is also a scriptwriter for cinema and tv. His most successful serie is “Squadra Antimafia” (Antimafia Squad) now optioned by ABC.
With Italian film director Gabriele Salvatores and producer Maurizio Totti, Dazieri founded in 2004 the publishing house Colorado Noir.
From 2000 to 2004 he was also the chief editor of the crime series Gialli Mondadori (Mondadori Thrillers) and the catalogue for young readers Libri per Ragazzi Mondadori (Mondadori Books for Youth). He is currently a literary consultant to the Mondadori Publishing House.
He is vegetarian and testimonial for many nonprofit organization.
Follow Sandrone on Twitter @sandronedazieri
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