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These Dark Things (Captain Natalia Monte #1)

3.14  ·  Rating details ·  135 Ratings  ·  50 Reviews
When a beautiful college student is found murdered in the catacombs beneath a monastary, Captain Natalia Monte of the Carabinieri is assigned to investigate. Could the killer be a professor the student had been sleeping with? A blind monk who loved her? Or perhaps a member of the brutal Napali criminal organization, the Camorra? As Natalia pursues her investigation, the cr ...more
Hardcover, 217 pages
Published May 10th 2011 by Soho Crime (first published May 1st 2011)
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Apr 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc
These Dark Things is an interesting and captivating mystery novel set in Naples, Italy. It's a pleasant and satisfying read, that leaves you craving for more.

Gina Falcone is one of the last "bone cleaners". Her job is to prepare the bones for the second burial, an ancient practice going back to Egyptians. When she goes to the local church to collect the bones for cleaning, she discovers a corpse of a beautiful young girl. The victim, a young student from Germany, has been brutally stabbed in t
May 23, 2011 rated it really liked it

Gina Falcone, an elderly woman, is a bone cleaner. She collects the bones of those who have been dead long enough that the flesh is gone. She cleans them and takes them to the churches around Naples where, in the cloisters and catacombs under the city, they become part of the macabre dance that is religion and superstition in parts of Italy. It is in one of these places that Gina finds the body of Teresa Steiner, a student from Germany. Teresa has been posed in a tableau familiar to those who ha
Aug 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, italy
There is the custom in Naples, Italy of the second burial. Officially, this practice has ceased decades ago, but it is an ancient ritual going back to the Egyptians. Mourners wait for a year for the body of a loved one to decompose, and then dig up the bones and place them in a bone box for the second burial. Neapolitans still have deep-seated superstitions about the dead. Perhaps it was not surprising that people here actually dressed in black so as not to be mistaken by the dead as living soul ...more
May 07, 2011 rated it liked it
Somewhere in the opening third of this Naples-set crime series debut, I started to find myself having a hard time not seeing images from the 2008 film Gomorrah. That powerful feature is a vividly bleak picture of contemporary Naples and the stranglehold organized crime has on it, and it's hard to imagine anyone seeing it and not looking at Naples through its grim lens thereafter. While the forces of law were largely absent from the film's storytelling, this slim debut shows us the city through t ...more
Mar 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
I love a good murder mystery, especially with a foreign location thrown in for extra interest, so when I read the synopsis for this book it was pretty appealing.

Captain Natalia Monte is assigned to investigate the murder of a pretty student found in the catacombs beneath a monastery in Naples. There are more than a couple of suspects for Monte and her partner to investigate, some of them who have a history with Natalia. The story is set in a Naples drowning in rubbish and with the main crime fam
Mar 14, 2011 rated it liked it
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 b ...more
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: netgalley
I love a good murder mystery. It's possible I started with a high expectation of this book because the synopsis sounded so good, but I find myself disappointed in this one.

Starting with the good things - I enjoyed Natalia and how her character evolved throughout the book. She was devoted to her career, her friends, and most importantly, to solving her cases. Her budding romance with Pino seemed a little odd at first, but after a while, I realized that Pino has held a torch for her for many years
J.M. Cornwell
May 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
An intimate and unforgettable tour through the dark heart of Naples.

Gina Francone, a bone cleaner and relative of a Camorra crime boss, finds a body lain out in a church crypt. Teresa Steiner, a student working on her doctorate, seemed to be a sweet, poor girl and it is Captain Natalia Monte’s job to find out who killed her.

Born and bred in Naples, Natalia knows all roads lead to the Camorra and all the roads are filled with garbage, the visible result of a struggle for control between warring
Cathy Cole
Mar 28, 2011 rated it liked it
First Line: A large cypress tree arched over the graves, and a few clouds the color of peaches.

Captain Natalia Monte of the Italian Carabinieri may get to wear uniforms designed by Armani, but she's faced the same tough climb up the law enforcement ladder that all women have had to face. Monte works in the city in which she grew up-- Naples-- and Mt. Vesuvius with its varying colors of smoke plumes looms in the distance watching over all.

A beautiful young German college student has been murdered
Lynn Harnett
May 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
From its first macabre scene of the old bone cleaner pushing her cart along in a Neapolitan dawn on her way to discover a murder in a church crypt, to its last line, as Captain Natalia Monte smells a wilting bouquet: “She inhaled their perfume – rotten, yet sweet, the scent of her beloved city,” Weiss’ evocation of Naples engages all our senses.

But even the vitality of the neighborhoods, the fruit markets and the cafés won’t necessarily make you want to visit. Naples teems with life and color an
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
I admit to being in love with all things Italian. So when I read about this book, I knew I had to read it. I'm a fan of Donna Leon's Inspector Brunetti series which takes place in Venice. I've also read one or two Aurelio Zen mysteries although I didn't care for the writing style as much. (On the other hand PBS televised Vendetta last summer. It was excellent.)

Inspector Brunetti is always on the side of justice, but knows that the intricacies of Italian justice and society often make that impos
Dawn Jobes
Mar 09, 2011 rated it liked it
Naples, Italy, a young woman is murdered and her body posed in a church. The Mafia, the Italian Carabinieri police, and a few Monk, Jesuits, and a novice. This is what has been tossed together in this book.

We meet Captian Natalia Monte and her partner Pino Loriano who must investigate the murder of a young University student visiting from Germany. Along the way we learn about the garbage crisis effecting Italy and the Mafia wars that are prevalent there as well.

I must say that Ms/Mr.Weiss did a
Apr 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
These Dark Things is the first novel in a series set in Naples featuring Captain Natalia Monte. Natalia is a most unlikely Italian cop - female, single, not even crooked. Natalia's Naples is a study in contradictions - the beauty, the culture, the food on one hand; the corruption, the collusion, the debilitating self-interest of the Camorra and the church and the government on the other. And in the midst of this daily tight-rope walk between transcendence and rot, a young woman is murdered.

The d
Rogue Reader
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery-italy
Loved this first work from author Jan Merete Weiss, These Dark Things, set in Naples, Italy. There's a fundamental metaphor of the underground caverns protecting the bones of the ancient and the newly dead and the corruption of contemporary politics on the surface. The metaphor is continued with the garbage strike, the stink of rot, the piles of garbage, the traditional powerful families that hold the city in its throes, and the new forces that want to gain strength.

The title doesn't do the book
Jul 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Where better to set an noir police procedural than in streets awash in uncollected trash, against a backdrop of smoke rising from Vesuvius? That is the Naples of Jan Merete Weiss's debut novel "These Dark Things." Held in the firm grip of the criminal organization the Camorra, the city looks "like something out of Dante," the stench of rotting garbage a visceral reminder that "[t]he collusion of organized crime and political powers had failed."

In an eerie opening scene, an old woman, tending to
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: travel, mystery, 2011
I really can't figure out why so many people like this book. I'm normally a big fan of mystery novels set in foreign countries -- especially in places I've visited. This book felt completely disjointed to me, though; sometimes a section break meant that five minutes had passed, and other times it felt more like a few days or even weeks. Plot developments kept being introduced in characters' conversations, in a way that suggested that they were old news to the people who were talking about them - ...more
May 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads, mystery
I enjoyed this first novel introducing the Captain Natalia Monte series set in Naples. Natalia has worked very hard to work her way up to the rank of Captain in the elite Carabinieri branch of the Naples police. She and her partner, Sergeant Pino Loriano, are called in to investigate the murder of a young, beautiful German college student, Teresa Steiner. Teresa's body is discovered by bone cleaner, Gina Falcone, in the catacombs under a Catholic Church. The investigation leads to possible links ...more
Rod Moser
Apr 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jan Weiss takes you to the tough streets of Naples, Italy where a beautiful young woman was found murdered in the catacombs of a church.

As Natalia Monte and her partner Pino Loriano begin to investigate the murder in the neighborhoods where Natalia was raised, they find themselves entangled in a dangerous web involving unscrupulous professors, shady priests, and the mafia factions that run the city of Naples.

I loved the depth of the characters, the descriptive talent of the author, the complexi
Feb 05, 2011 rated it liked it
Listening to this in the car. Naples.... German student involved with some unsavory characters is found dead in the bones room in a church crypt...
I really liked the main character, Captain Natlia Monte of the Naples Carabinieri and her Sergeant, Pino Loriano. I thought the plot was intriguing, especially the material about the street shrines of Naples and the relationships of the Cammorro with all aspects of life in the city. Natalia's childhood girlfriends also play an important role in the st
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really liked the two carabinieri characters. Natalia is a good cop, conscientious, ambitious, but not driven. She's a loyal friend, even though one of her closest friends from childhood is now married to a Camorra chief. Pino is also a good cop,conscientious and ambitious. She's a captain, he's a sergeant and there are personal issues between them. He is also a Buddhist, which is pretty atypical for and Italian police officer.

The murder investigation is interesting and well done, the victim an
Jean-Paul Adriaansen
Mar 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery-police
While Naples is being transformed into an open garbage dump, following a political conflict, Captain Natalia Monte of the Carabinieri has to investigate the murder of a beautiful German girl. The few clues she finds lead into different directions: a monk from a nearby monastery, the victim’s advisor of her college, and even the Camorra.

This is an entertaining story with interesting facts about Naples’ history and the interference of the Camorra into politics and religion, as well as its impact o
Oct 21, 2011 rated it it was ok
This was a disappointment. Sounded so good - a female state police captain in Naples, criminal organizations, bone cleaners, and Jesuits. The characters were not interesting and very little back story to establish them for a 1st book in a series. And Naples obviously not the place to place a series. There is nothing intriguing or compelling to the city (and I was surprised). It's dirty, poverty stricken, and depressing. The whole book is a downer.
Jul 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Interessante detective die mooi het spanningsveld tussen het dagelijks leven, orde handhaving en de Camorra in Napels weergeeft.
Mooie plotwendingen.

In de met afval overdekte straten van Napels zoekt een vrouwelijke carabinieri sergeant naar de moordenaar van een studente uit Duitsland. Niets in dit boek is wat het lijkt.
Hoewel er een op zijn zachst gezegd niet zo'n positief beeld van Napels wordt geschetst deed het boek me toch enorm terugverlangen naar deze interessante stad.
Jun 28, 2011 rated it liked it
Weiss' debut brings yet another Italian detective on the scene, this time a Captain of the carabineri living and working in Naples. While it begins as a fairly straightforward murder mystery, These Dark Things quickly twists itself into an examination of the relationships between the Church, the government, and the Camorra. Fans of the late Michael Dibdin should give this new series a whirl for tone, and those of Camillieri, for setting.
Jane Bruyns
Mar 15, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting police procedural with well drawn characters; Natalie Monte is introduced as is Naples and its environment providing an interesting back drop to a thrilling story that proved to be well researched. So that while relaxing with a good book I learned a little about a time time and place with which I was not previously familiar.
a mystery noir but just seemed so slooow i had to abandon. busy guy

soho crime published though and publisher weekly gives her starred reviews and a new one out now. takes place in naples

Been busy building an opac, so just making placeholders for books I’ve read in march and april 2014. This is the opac though.

Jan 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent police procedural set in the mob-run, trash-filled (literally) city of Naples. Natalia and the gentle Sergeant Pino are very likeable. If Naples is much like Weiss's portrayal, it sounds horrific. Still. Well-written, good plot twists, nice depiction of relationships between Natalia and Pino, and Natalia and her girlfriends.
Dec 16, 2014 rated it did not like it
Where do I start? The only mystery I found in the book was trying to understand what the hell was going on. I mean, it starts out with a dead body, great, and a "strong female lead" which is also great. But then the plot line just dies. I mean, the only detective work that I saw was interrogating a few people.

This is not a book I would recommend to anyone.
Jan 04, 2015 rated it liked it
I was looking for a mystery set in Naples, and checked this out of the library.

I enjoyed it but as expected, it has a very dark look at Naples, corruption and the mob.

I was not particularly happy with the ending, but felt it was well written.

I cared about Natalia and Pino and would like to know what happens next.
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I recently visited Naples briefly and came away with a terrible feeling of darkness and evil(which I expressed to everyone who would listen), this story echoed what I felt. It was uncanny...thus the high marks reflect this as well as a great story.
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Jan Merete Weiss grew up in Puerto Rico. She studied poetry and painting at the Massachusetts College of Art and received a Master’s degree from NYU. Her poems have appeared in various literary magazines. She lives in New York and lectures at Lehman College.
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