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The Rosary Girls (Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  4,861 Ratings  ·  284 Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
One of the most popular riffs on the police procedural is the partner story -- and suspense writer Richard Montanari's powerful novel rings the changes on a veteran cop/new partner situation.

Kevin Byrne has years of experience with the Philadelphia Homicide Unit, a reputation for working a case for as long as it takes to solve it, and a nasty
ebook, 0 pages
Published February 15th 2005 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2005)
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João Carlos

Philadelphia - EUA

“As Raparigas do Rosário” escrito pelo norte-americano Richard Montanari (n. 1952) é o primeiro livro da dupla de detectives Jessica Balzano e Kevin Byrne na “Philadelphia Series”.
A magnífica capa da edição da Editorial Presença em tons de azul, em que se vê parcialmente uma rapariga, com as mãos juntas, envolvidas por um rosário, a rezar, com uma camisa de noite, deixa antever um thriller misterioso repleto de emoções e de violência brutal.
A história é construída lentamente, c
Jul 30, 2014 Marian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Im thinking a 4-5 for this book.WOW!Sprawling beneath the statue of William Penn, Philadelphia is a city of downtrodden crack houses and upscale brownstones. Somewhere in this concrete crazy quilt, one teenage Catholic girl is writing in her diary, another is pouring her heart out to a friend, and yet another is praying. And somewhere in this city is a man who wants these young women to make his macabre fantasy become reality. In a passion play of his own, he will take the girls–and a whole city ...more
Skye Skye
Aug 02, 2014 Skye Skye rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an exceptional suspense novel that also fits well in the realms of psychological thriller. It contains police procedurals and can also be categorized as a hard, gritty cop tale . It focuses on a serial killer on the dangerous streets of Philadelphia. Although Philly has many lovely parts ( it's my home town) there are other regions that are quite shockingly deadly. This novel depicts religion turned fanatical; sorrow leads to revenge and then turns quite ghastly. This is a fast-paced nov ...more
Jess starts her day as a new homicide detective on the day a body of a young teen is found, posed and mutilated. She and her partner, Kevin Byrne, soon will spearhead a taskforce hunting a serial killer targeting young Catholic schoolgirls.

The killer is smart and his motive complex. Twists abound as the story unfolds and Jess begins to suspect the killer may be someone close to home.

I really liked the layers on complexities of this story and the suspense continues to grow to a powerful ending.

Neide Parafitas
Jan 13, 2012 Neide Parafitas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, leituras-2013
Uma vaga de crimes está a ter lugar na cidade de Filadélfia.

Raparigas que estudam em colégios católicos são encontradas mortas, com as mãos aparafusadas. Estas seguram um rosário, onde se verifica que estão em falta algumas das suas contas. Existe todo um ritual minuciosamente preparado que deve cessar antes que o ciclo esteja completo!

Adorei este livro! É um policial carregado de pormenores religiosos que trazem consigo o suspense necessário até que a última página seja virada e que fará certa
Σφιχτοδεμένο, οικείοι χαρακτήρες, το διάβασα μονορούφι. Για την ώρα του φαγητού, ένα πολύ διασκεδαστικό μπλόκμπαστερ. 3 και κάτι αστέρια.
Asghar Abbas


Something , something. Suburban horror ? The details were grisly and graphic and the author looks a bit like Ian McEwan. That certainly upped the creepy factor.
Maria João Fernandes
O autor Richard Montanari estreia-se em Portugal com o livro "As Raparigas do Rosário". No entanto, o escritor de thrillers e policiais, argumentos e inúmeros ensaios para publicações de renome, publicou a sua primeira obra "Deviant Way" em 1995 (infelizmente sem tradução em Português).
"As Raparigas do Rosário" é um romance fascinante que destaca o lado sórdido e obscuro da alma humana. A obra dá inicio a uma série cujos protagonistas são os detectives Kevin Byrne e Jessica Balzano, detectives d
Robert Beveridge
Jan 07, 2010 Robert Beveridge rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Catholic schoolgirls
Richard Montanari, Rosary Girls (Ballantine, 2005)

I always approach a new (well, new-to-me) ongoing mystery series with trepidation. Not because I fear I'll hate it. In fact, I have a lot fewer problems with those I hate, since I can just abandon them. But, you see, I'm a reader of George R. R. Martin. I've waited ten years for what is, essentially, volume four of A Song of Ice and Fire (A Feast for Crows, which popped up six years ago, was the first half of volume four. A Dance with Dragons, su
Oct 11, 2012 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: n-usa, e4
Gostei muito deste livro, mas...
Os detectives estão muito bem caracterizados e despertam a nossa simpatia, pela sua coragem e fragilidade.
O enredo está muito bem construído, levando-nos a “devorar” página após página na ânsia de descobrir o final.
Mas... eu gosto de assassinos com personalidade...
Leah Polcar
Dec 15, 2015 Leah Polcar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review refers to the audiobook version.


Fairly typical police procedural and standard serial killer on the loose wreaking havoc all around Philly. Entertaining for what it is. The narration however is outstanding -- Scott Brick nails it.
The first thing I want to say is, I have definitely found my favorite genre of books, thrillers/murder/mystery. It's been a while since I have read one. This is a new series. I received this book from a bookcrossing member several years ago. Why didn't I read this sooner? The setting is Philadelphia. I don't know much about Philadelphia. I've only been there as a layover for a flight to someplace else. I relate this town to a biography I read about a famous model/drug addict who died of aids, Gi ...more
Oct 18, 2013 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, crime, read_2015
THE ROSARY GIRLS is a solid conventional police procedural that pits its protagonists against a heinous spate of crimes that surprisingly spans a short period of time. Throughout the course of a week, new homicide detective Jessica Balzano and her seasoned partner Kevin Byrne are haunted by the ghosts of the Rosary Killers victims; searching for answers in holy places to solve unholy acts of horror.

As the first book in the Balzano and Byrne series, THE ROSARY GIRLS reads rather deep. Byrne is a
Sian Wadey
The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari

Right from the off, I didn't like Kevin Byrne which was one of the main reasons I only gave this three stars. I thought he was a thug and he twisted the law to suit himself, but the addition of Jessica saved this book. She's a likable character, even if she's unrealistic. There were also more characters than necessary, extra cops that I don't think added anything to the book.
The plot on the other hand was good. I felt like Montanari had done his research abou
Jun 24, 2013 Hugo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a quick and involving read, with characters sketched in and then given a bit of form as the story progresses, and gruesome murders to liven the narrative when things start to flag.

However, the lack of actual progress made by the police leaves them looking largely inept, and the male detective's wishy-washy psychic ability seems even to embarrass the writer, as it pales as the story progresses, as if he's unsure what to do with the device once he's introduced it.

While Montanari keeps the
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
Kevin Byrne is a veteran cop who he’s been living on the edge for far too long. His marriage failing, his former partner wasting away in a hospital, and his heart lost to its own mad fury, Byrne is breaking every rule in the book.

Now, he has been given a rookie partner, the daughter of a famous Philly cop. Jessica Balzano doesn’t need Byrne’s kind of help, but they need each other desperately. Because they’ve just caught the case of a lifetime. Someone is killing devout young women, bolting thei
Tim Warner
I was thoroughly taken in by Richard Montanari. He is probably the "darkest" of the crime writers I read, but he is also a great writer. However, this book was a big disappointment. It contained all of the elements of a serial killer thriller except a genuine "soul" to the book. It is as if Montanari applied all of the tricks and techniques used to produce a riveting page-turner that I can't put down and yet failed in the most crucial of ways. The bones and the flesh are there, but no heart, no ...more
Diana Marques
I love crime stories and this one is definetly one of my favourites.
This is my first foray into Richard Montanari; no idea if he’s published before this or not, though it’s a first-in-a-series novel, introducing Detective Byrne and his rookie partner Jessica. In this, their first dual case, someone is murdering and mutilating young Catholic schoolgirls. A brutal crime with a religious/blasphemous edge isn’t exactly a new idea in the genre, and I wasn’t expecting much, but I was surprised and pleased to find a solid, clever story behind door number one, and a dén ...more
Wayne Simmons
Sep 05, 2012 Wayne Simmons rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

God Help Them ...

In the most brutal killing crusade Philadelphia has seen in years, a series of young Catholic women are found dead, their bodies mutilated and their hands bolted together. Each clutches a rosary in her lifeless grasp.

Veteran cop Kevin Byrne and his rookie partner Jessica Balzano set out to hunt down the elusive killer, who leads them deeper and deeper into the abyss of a madman's depravity. Suspects appear before them like bad dreams - and vanish just as quickly. Whi
Sep 13, 2014 Lorna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fast paced, gripping thriller guaranteed to keep the pages turning. A new partnership is formed in the Philadelphia police department. Jessica Belzano is new to the homicide squad, partnered with veteran detective Kevin Byrne they soon have their hands full with a grisly murder.

A young girl is found, her hands clasped in prayer, a rosary in her death grip. So begins a killing spree where the only common theme seems to be religion. Each of them attends Catholic school. However, although the M.O
Gilly Tay
Dec 15, 2016 Gilly Tay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
WAS GREAT!!! Had enough ride of a light horror from page 1 to the last. Enjoyed Jessica's character as a detective and her partner Byrne. Had no clue who the culprit was, actually believed it was her the paramedic but actually another person who had harboured pain for so long.
I liked the novel so much.
Izzatur Rahmaniyah
If I have a heartache, I'm sure I will get heart attacks when reading this novel. It's truly an amazing mystery thriller. The story is very interesting and makes me get goosebump. I actually interested in the motive of the murderer. How could he kill some Catholic girls using very sadistic ways? Tessa, Nicole, and Bethany were murdered. And the murderer did something terrible with their hands. There is a rosary circled on their hands. There are also some clues that show where the next dead body ...more
Jay Jessmer
Jul 23, 2012 Jay Jessmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After reading "Badlands" I had to double back to the first Byrne/Balzano book. I AM HOOKED. Seems like the reviews lump this in the old "love it or hate it" category. I'm obviously in the former here.
Montanari gets it. Much like John Sandford, he understands what fans of this genre like, and delivers. The pacing is swift, the characters are imperfect and balance each other, the plotline keeps you interested and guessing and it makes you want more.
Byrne has the edge you like in a detective and
Jul 04, 2010 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four-stars for the quality of writing and intriguing, likeable protagonists. The book is pretty dark, nothing cute or quirky about it and I liked that for a change. Think the author cheats a bit with the ending and the reveal of the serial killer's identity (Montanari actually commits what's considered a cardinal sin in mystery writing - pun intended) but can't say more without giving away too much. Also, kind of a big "duh" moment for two smart detectives when it takes them until near the end o ...more
Oct 05, 2011 Penny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-crime
This was a new author to me - several people recommended it. It is the story of a pair of homicide detectives - one a new female officer - who have a serial murderer of Catholic school girls. There were several side plots going on which I found added richness to the story whilst creating tension as the main story is put on hold for a chapter. The plotting is well-crafted and I did not guess the murderer, plenty of twists, red herrings and danger. My only comment is that it was slighlty more grue ...more
Jul 14, 2012 Barbra rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A suspenseful thriller that hooks you instantly.

Back Cover Blurb:
In the most brutal killing crusade Philadelphia has seen in years, a series of young Catholic women are found dead, their bodies mutilated and their hands bolted together. Each clutches a rosary in her lifeless grasp.
Veteran cop Kevin Byrne and his rookie partner Jessica Balzano set out to hunt down the elusive killer, who leads them deeper and deeper into the abyss of a madman's depravity. Suspects appear before them like bad drea
Galen Johnson
Veteran homicide detective Kevin Byrne and novice homicide detective Jessica Balzano are the primary investigators on the homicide of a young Catholic school girl killed and then posed in prayer in the basement of an abandoned ghetto building in Philadelphia. It is Holy Week, and within days it is apparent that the killer has abducted and killed multiple school girls. Numerous false leads frustrate the detectives, who are both dealing with personal trials of their own.

Suspenseful, with believabl
Eva Witmer
May 23, 2015 Eva Witmer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yippee! I found this book on the Goodreads website and loved it! I enjoyed the characters and the mystery. The story is about newly promoted to the Homicide Unit of the Philadelphia Police force, Jessica Balzano and her partner Kevin Byrne. On the first day of the job, Jessica catches a homicide of a teenaged girl murdered with her hands bolted together and holding a rosary. This turns out to be the first in a series of similar murders and Jessica and Kevin must solve the case of the Rosary Kill ...more
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Richard Montanari is the Top Ten Sunday Times bestselling author of The Rosary Girls, The Killing Room, The Stolen Ones and the upcoming thriller, The Doll Maker.

* Jack Paris
* Jessica Balzano & Kevin Byrne
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