April's Reviews > These Dark Things

These Dark Things by Jan Merete Weiss
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's review
May 09, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011, don-t-own, mystery
Read in May, 2011

These Dark Things is a story that transports us to Naples, Italy where the Camorra (a crime syndicate older than the mafia) rules with an iron fist and the Carabinieri (police force in charge of protecting cultural institutions) are called to oppose at every turn despite overwhelming odds against them. Captain Natalia Monte is called to the scene of a murder; a body has been found in the crypt of a local church. She arrives to find the body of a young woman posed, sitting in a chair surrounded by the bones of plague victims. From identification found she is Theresa Steiner, 23 years old, a student studying from Ulm, Germany.

Theresa Steiner, a very social person, has come in contact with many people – even the infamous Camorra leader Gambini himself has been seen with her. As the story unfolds there is no lack of suspects including: a blind monk, Gambini head of one of the biggest syndicates of the Camorra, and a philandering Professor who doesn’t mind ruining students careers to get what he wants.
As the investigation heats up, so does the trash that’s being abandoned all over the city – two factions of the Camorra fighting for control of the lucrative trash removal contracts. Not to mention that Captain Natalia has had prior dealings with this philandering Professor and one of her best friends is involved with the Camorra in-fighting and doesn’t know which side to take, or who will win. If that wasn’t stressful enough, Natalia has a new love interest that may get her into more trouble than it’s worth.

Confession:

I enjoyed the book, but it’s not going to be one of those books I remember for very long. I loved the premise of the book and the setting. If I could go anywhere in the world I would probably pick Italy. I really loved the history and the language, and I was glad to see that was showcased in the book. However, sometimes it seemed like a little TOO much. I would be reading a sentence and suddenly there would be an Italian word placed there. I wouldn’t have minded that so much if it didn’t happen so frequently. I didn’t need so many constant reminders of where the setting was. The only other thing that was a minor turn off was having the same things described all the time – people loitering in the streets, garbage everywhere, children running, etc. For me, it was just about moderation, in my opinion it was just, again, too much.
The story is enjoyable and the mystery is interesting. I haven’t decided whether or not I will be reading the next in the series or not. Although this book left off in a very interesting place.
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