Friday, June 6, 2008

The Garden of Evil-David Hewson

The Garden of Evil
David Hewson
Delacorte, Aug 2008, $24.00
ISBN: 0385339577

At a Roman art studio, Italian police detective Nic Costa and his unit are beginning to work the homicide crime scene; two dead people lie near a painting of a female nude. However, stunningly they find a live hooded gunman, who exchanges fire with the cops. The apparent killer escapes, but not before he adds a third homicideto the total of the dead; former FBI agent Emily Deacon, Costa's wife of three months, is shot dead.

The obvious conflict of interest removes the grieving Costa officially from the case. However, Costa’s boss assigns him to help art expert Sister Agata Graziano, who is authenticating the nude to see whether it is a priceless Caravaggio original or a fabulous fake. If genuine, the masterpiece may be a valuable clue to the killer’s identity so Sister Agata must die.

Filled with incredible but plausible twists, this is a strong Italian police procedural that will have the audience reading it in one suspense laden sitting. The story line is fast-paced as Costa works the streets of Rome seeking a killer who affirms death imitates art. David Hewson is at his best with this superb Roman thriller (see THE SEVENTH SACRAMENT).

Harriet Klausner