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Book Review of The Monster of Florence

Updated on October 25, 2013

Review of The Monster of Florence

Monster of Florence

The author, Douglas Preston, is hands down one of my favorite authors. While the majority of his books are what can best be described as in the “thriller” genre, falling into the fiction department, this one does not fall into that category. Oh, it can be considered a thriller, but definitely is not a work of fiction.

Preston, and his co-author Lincoln Child have penned some of the best fictional thrillers on the market today. Relic, the one that got me hooked, is borderline science fiction, due in part to the realm you are taken to. These two consistently turn out Best Sellers like you or I may turn the channel on the television; seemingly with ease and without effort. But The Monster of Florence is a bit different: it is a true story which happened, not to some unsuspecting person in the world, but to the author himself.

The setting is Florence, Italy. While a good amount of you may think of Under The Tuscan Sun when you think of Italy, be aware: there is an ugly underbelly to the beauty which lies above. Mr. Preston thought to live in Florence in order to write a novel about a subject he found interesting. But before he could begin walking down this road, he was sidetracked by a story which would change not only his, but yours and mine, lives. While living in Florence, he chanced to meet an Italian newspaperman by the name of Mario Spezi. Mario had long been on the trail of a murderer who was known as the Monster of Florence. Several couples had been murdered, over the course of almost twenty years. When Mario made Douglas aware that one of the murders had happened right in the little olive orchard on the property he was leasing while he wrote his story, he was hooked. Throughout the book, you find intrigue, suspicions, paranoia, and mistakes made by multiple parties.

The impact of this story is far reaching. Thomas Harris is said to have picked portions of it to create his master villain Hannibal “The Cannibal” Lector. Another portion is said to have influenced his villain murdering the police chief in the movie “Hannibal”. There is a part of me which wonders if Son of Sam hadn’t heard of the initial killings, and copycatted them in America.

If you have read about the trials involving Amanda Knox, and were surprised at the way the carabinieri handled her case, had you read this book it would have been no surprise at all. The two branches of police constantly fought with one another, refusing to give the other any credit for any part of the case. Suspense, intrigue, assertions, fear, and multiple murders all form the central plot of one of the most hideous and least understood crimes of the twentieth century. There is talk of a movie being produced on this story, with George Clooney in the lead. If this comes to be, I hope to be first in line to see it!

Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child now have some thirty odd books between them, either together or seperately. I am proud to say I have almost every one, and have yet to find one which I did not enjoy. They have penned Thillers for the most part, and some will leave you shivering in fear at the thought of someone like their villians walking the earth. Some are Techno-Science, weaving true life science into a tapestry of words that leave you hungry for more.

Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

The Monster of Florence


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    • cmoneyspinner1tf profile image

      Treathyl FOX 4 years ago from Austin, Texas

      I'm a sucker for anything set in Florence, Italy. Excellent book review!

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 5 years ago from Missouri

      I had a hard time buying this book. Purchased twice online, and then not received due to selling out. Finally, third time was a charm. Incredible read, and it details the workings of the Italian Police very well. To say they do not make sense at times would be an understatement. One of my favorites of theirs, and Doug does a great job of bringing you into the mix. I highly suggest reading it. Thanks for stopping by, and for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate your time.

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 5 years ago from East Coast, United States

      While I have not read this book, as a Preston and Childs fan, I really should. I did see a documentary TV thing on this story and it was incredible.

    • Mr Archer profile image

      Mr Archer 5 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you for your comment. And yes, it is a pity the world can't work together in a better manner.

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 5 years ago from Tennesee

      This sounds fascinating! It is a pity, though, these kind of factions exist and bring such inequity to the world.

      Good review, voting up.