Becky's Reviews > The Monster of Florence

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston
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's review
Nov 28, 2008

really liked it
Read in November, 2008

contemp true crime/memoir ........ rating 8/10

I wasn't all that interested in the first half of this book, the part that details the crimes and has Preston and Spezi, an Italian journalist, investigating the subject of the old Florentine murders. They do this for a book basically and as they investigate, gather evidence, conduct interviews, they come to their own conclusions. This half also shows how the police and Italian investigators were desperate to find someone to convict. But every time someone was sentenced, another murder occurred or new evidence was found and the case remained open. At this point I'd give the book about a 6.

But when Preston turns to the actual personal results of their investigation the book kind of explodes for me into a nightmarish scenario of being accused of a crime based on having journalistic knowledge. Preston is asked to leave the country and not return. Spezi is jailed. The Italian law is on the loose and angry about what the journalists seem to know - how do they know it? Did they plant evidence? Are they lying? (Lying to investigators is a serious, serious crime in Italy.) This part of the book is tautly written and truly suspenseful - powerful statement about Italian superstitions, law enforcement and old family ties. This part would be a 9 so now the book as a whole is an 8.

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