Marcia's Reviews > The Monster of Florence

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston
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's review
May 24, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction
Read from May 24 to 28, 2012

Recommended for readers interested in real crime, violent crime, unsolved crime, The Silence of the Lambs/Hannibal (Thomas Harris is inspired by some of the tale), and international journalist rights.

I listened to the audio book, so this review deals with that version.

When an author is writing about things that Actually Happened, I know they don't have much choice about how interesting an ending is. But I can't help but think that The Monster of Florence would be a much more thrilling book if it ended after part one. --Or at least that's what I picked up the tome for.


While the first half of the book concerns a fascinating series of unsolved murders in Italy, the second half devolves into political, journalistic and personal trials. This is certainly interesting on it's own, but paired with the horror of the first half, I was far less enthused.

Aside from that complaint, I only have a few negative comments. Preston seems to be writing for a pretty educated and literate audience, however he frequently repeats or rephrases ideas, and carefully interprets ideas and characters within the narrative. Now, I know that Preston as a character in the narrative is certainly welcome to do this, but I felt far more interpretation and influence from Preston the author than I was ready and willing to listen to.

The murders and descriptions of a potentially graphic nature and handled discretely and rarely ventured into the lurid territory. What I did take offense at was Preston's completely outsider perspective on Italian culture, politics, and judicial system. While he refrains from outright stereotypes, he spends much of the book generalizing the people in a way that feels xenophobic even if, at heart, it is not.

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