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The Monster of Florence
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Archive - Group Reads > The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston - (Spoilers Permitted) - July 2019

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message 1: by Jenny, Administration (last edited Jun 16, 2019 06:28PM) (new)

Jenny (diggensjenny) | 1169 comments Mod
Hello fellow True Crime readers! This discussion is about The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston, your discussion leader is Jamie.

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About spoilers

Please note: If you have not finished reading the book spoilers are permitted in this discussion from the start.
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The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston

Summary

In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more.

This is the true story of their search for—and identification of—the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of the police investigation. Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into Italy's grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself. Like one of Preston's thrillers, The Monster of Florence, tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide—and at the centre of it, Preston and Spezi, caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.


message 2: by Maureen, Moderator (new)

Maureen | 171 comments Mod
Hi
Is there anyone else out there reading this month's True Crime? So far, I have found it very readable. They say that truth is stranger than fiction.
There is such a weird contrast between the beautiful Tuscan scenery and these brutal killings. It is fascinating to read about the culture and lifestyle of the people of Florence and the surrounding area, which form the background.


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Black (lisablackauthor) | 15 comments I loved this book. And I’m embarrassed that, as a member o f International Thriller Writers, I received Preston’s email asking for support for his reporter friend—and I read it, thought about it, and finally decided that as I’d never met Preston and didn’t really know anything about him, I’d pass. Later I read this book and kicked myself!


Jamie Z. | 98 comments Hey all! I'm moderating this and wanted to say that so far I like it! It's interesting to hear about a serial killer that's not from the US.


Aditya | 1397 comments I read it a few years back, don't remember all the details but it sure was a fascinating read. Preston shows the sort of depth as a writer that won't be visible in any of his other works. I mainly knew him from the Pendegrast series that got less and less interesting the older I got, so didn't have a lot of expectations from his true crime read. Glad that I was pleasantly surprised by it. Hope the rest of you will also enjoy it.


Jamie Z. | 98 comments I'm listening to it so maybe that's part of the problem but I'm having a tough time keeping all the Italian names/backstories of the suspects straight.


message 7: by Maureen, Moderator (new)

Maureen | 171 comments Mod
Jamie said
"I'm listening to it so maybe that's part of the problem but I'm having a tough time keeping all the Italian names/backstories of the suspects straight".

I've got the Kindle version and there is a huge list of Secondary Characters, roughly in order of appearance at the start. This is useful, but it put me off a bit at first. Useful in the Kindle, though as you can do a search on the names.

At the start of the Kindle version, there is also a map showing the areas around Florence where the murders of the couples took place. Unfortunately, you can't zoom into the map to see it better, that's where a paper book would be useful.


message 8: by Gem, Administration (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gem | 857 comments Mod
I listened to the audiobook yesterday and finished this morning. I had never heard of the Monster of Florence. I was surprised, in the beginning, when Spezi told Preston it was Italy's "Jack the Ripper." This was, for me, an interesting story that was well written. Unfortunately, the focus on how this was affecting the two writers (which I loved hearing about) took the focus off the actual crime, investigation, and evidence. Or maybe there just wasn't enough investigation and evidence to write about (or at least that is how it appeared to me... very shoddy investigation).

At the end of the audiobook, there is an interview with Preston where he states the prosecutor in the Spezi case is the same one in the Amanda Knox case. Additionally, the judiciary in Italy has no oversight. Even though our judicial system in the US isn't perfect we at least have the checks and balances system, there apparently is no such thing in Italy. It's scary to me that one man can have so much power and not be accountable when he fabricates evidence and makes wild accusations.

Jamie wrote: "I'm listening to it so maybe that's part of the problem but I'm having a tough time keeping all the Italian names/backstories of the suspects straight."

That's the one drawback for me when it comes to audiobooks.

Great selection, I really enjoyed it.


Kelly (marquis784) | 33 comments He is one of my favorite authors of non-fiction. I haven’t read any of his fiction novels. The non-fiction are so detailed and well-researched. He isn’t afraid to speak his honest option.

His book The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston was fascinating. It’s long and can feel dragging sometimes but if you know him you can respect that he has done extensive research. I’m amazed he survived this journey and I think he was too!


message 10: by Gem, Administration (new) - rated it 5 stars

Gem | 857 comments Mod
Kelly wrote: "His book The Lost City of the Monkey God "

I was looking forward to that one, now I'm really intrigued.


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