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Book review – David Hewson – The Garden of Evil

Updated on April 7, 2010

David Hewson - The Garden of evil

The author David Hewson was born in Yorkshire in 1953. At the young age of 17 he began his journalism career. Since then he wrote several novels and some travel books. The book ‘The garden of evil’ is the sixth in an Italian crime series about detective Nic Costa, and my favorite so far.

It is set in Rome, in the old prostitute quarter, called Ortaccio back in the days. The first impression on reading the back of the cover, the blurb, reminded me very much of Dan Browns ‘Angels and demons’. This book however revolves around a painting that is purely fictional. The alleged painter however is Caravaggio, who did live in these quarters of Rome several centuries ago. The book is not really like ‘Angels and Demons’, it is more of a detective, with some historical facts woven into it. If you liked ‘Angels and demons’ though, you will probably like ‘The garden of evil’ too.

David Hewson does a great job of mixing fiction with events that did really happen so many years ago. And it is fascinating how he tries to solve the brutal crimes that are happening in the present, and at the same time, tries to make sense of history and try to figure out what happened to Caravaggio so long ago. His description of Rome and some of its very real paintings and building, and of course people is very colourful and gripping. It makes you want to hop on a train, bus or plane to go and see it for yourself. And even if art and architecture does not interest you at all, the way they are used to solve the case are marvellous. 

The book starts when a pickpocket accidentally discovers the scene of several brutal murders on women. Nic Costa and his team find the dead bodies of several prostitutes and strange photographs of many more women. They also find a painting. A magnificent piece of art never seen before, most likely painted by Caravaggio. Somehow the painting seems to be the key to solving the murders. But the suspects are rich social elite and have ways of keeping the police at bay. Together with his team and a sister specialised in Caravaggio Costa roams through Ortaccio looking for answers.

David Hewson keeps you at the tip of your chair, and unable to put the book down. The story stays interesting and with the right amount of excitement and fear throughout the book. It grips you and will keep your mind occupied until you have finished it, and probably some time after that. Definitely one of the better detectives out there. So go get it now!

Buy it new at Amazon, or look for your second-hand, and therefore cheaper copy at Ebay!

Other books by David Hewson

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