In a hushed Vatican reading room, the scene was shocking: a crazed professor shot dead after brandishing evidence of a grisly crime. Moments later, two bodies are found in a nearby church, each with a gruesome calling card from the killer. Thus begins David Hewson's elegant and electrifying new novel. Set amidst a bizarre killing spree in modern Rome, it is a bewitching blend of history and drama, sensuality and suspense.
As the August heat takes Rome in its fiery grip, the news of two brutal murders holds the city in thrall. And as the media gathers and Vatican officials close ranks, a young detective is sent to the forefront of the case. Nic Costa is the son of an infamous Italian Communist, a connoisseur of Caravaggio , and a cop who barely looks his 27 years of age. Thrust into the heart of a killing spree that will rattle his city down to its ancient bones, Nic meets a woman who will soon dominate both his consciousness and his investigation.
A cool, beautiful professor of early Christianity, Sara Farnese was in the Vatican library on that fateful day, a witness to her colleague's strange outburst and death. But her role will become even more puzzling as more bodies are found: Each victim killed in a gory tableau of Christian martyrdom. And each victim had intimately known Sara, whose silence Costa cannot quite crack and whose carnal history becomes more lurid and unfathomable with every revelation.
Soon, a nightmarish chase is implicating politicians and priests -- while at the heart of the matter remains the woman Costa is both investigating and guarding. Wanting to believe in Sara's innocence, Nic still cannot turn his eyes from the truths he is uncovering. Even as the secrets of a woman, a killer and a city begin to unravel...with devastating consequences.
A beguiling mystery, a dazzling treat for the senses, and a fascinating tour of the streets and alleyways of Rome, Nic Costa's relentlessly suspenseful debut is a masterpiece of suspense fiction.?
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"A Season for the Dead, sometimes blissfully over the top, is intelligent entertainment." - Patrick Anderson.
"Outsized, eccentric characters, a complex story and an abundance of historical detail make this engrossing book more than just another cookie-cutter, religious-nut serial killer thriller." - Publishers Weekly.
"At times grisly, with attention to artistic detail, this book offers a delicious and compelling view of the public art of Rome and the private intrigue of the Vatican." - Library Journal.
"Hewson tends to overstuff, but likable Nic exudes series potential." - Kirkus Reviews.
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David Hewson is
the author of several travel books, at least six standalone novels and the Nic Costa series. He used to be a weekly columnist for the Sunday
Times, but gave up journalism in 2005 to focus full time on his novels. He lives in Kent, England.
David originates from the North of England and did not travel abroad until he was 21. However he read about Italy and Greece at the library and grew up dreaming of the Mediterranean.
Rights for the Nic Costa series have been sold to a number of countries, but he is particularly proud of the fact that the series has been translated into Italian, "When you're a foreigner writing about their country, normally they won't touch you. They'll look at a book and say this is all wrong, so it's great that an Italian publisher should ...
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