Series: Caselli & Torre
Book Number: 1
Read this book for: thriller, conspiracy and intrigue, damaged detectives, mental health issues, kidnappings, now it’s personal, second-guessing and betrayals
Quick Review: An emotional and complex thriller that delves into increasingly dark territory, and won’t let you go until you finish.
When a woman is beheaded in a park outside Rome and her six-year-old son goes missing, the police unit assigned to the case arrests the woman’s husband and awaits his confession. But the city’s Chief of Major Crimes has his doubts and assigns two of Italy’s top analytical minds to the case: Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from a horrific mass killing she survived, and Dante Torre, a man who spent his childhood trapped inside a concrete silo. Fed through the gloved hand of a masked kidnapper who called himself “the Father,” Dante emerged from his ordeal with crippling claustrophobia but, also, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. All evidence suggests that the Father is back at work and active after being dormant for decades. But when Colomba and Dante begin following the ever-more-bizarre trail of clues, they quickly grasp that whatever is going on is darker than they ever imagined. And tell-tale signs suggest that the Father is looking forward to a reunion with Dante.
KILL THE FATHER is the first novel in what is expected to be a new series by Sandrone Dazieri, translated from Italian for an English-speaking audience to enjoy. This series features a pair of protagonists both dealing with the mental aftermath of trauma in different ways – Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli who survived a horrific attack, and Dante Torre, an extremely intelligent man who was kidnapped and held for much of his childhood in a concrete silo, and who still suffers the effects of that experience.
And you really viscerally feel the emotion behind those experiences. Perhaps especially impressive for a translation, this novel does an incredible job of really gripping you through its writing alone. Sharp, tense, and with good use of flashbacks and a fairly sparse tone, it is a fairly readable novel despite its length, and particularly difficult to put down.
The characters themselves also draw you in. Caselli and Torre have both been through horrific events but you have to admire their fight to keep going despite everything stacked against them – internal and external. You really feel the tension that their PTSD and anxiety causes them – Caselli and Torre are affected differently by their illness and have different (and not necessarily healthy methods of coping). Torre particularly suffers, and in many ways reminds me of the BBC incarnation of Sherlock Holmes for his advanced intelligence, boltholes, similar physical appearance, and substance abuse to deal with his mind – both pharmacological and caffeine-based.
The plot is the other gripping aspect of the KILL THE FATHER. It’s complex and winding, full of conspiracy and unexpected secrets. While there are not any major twists, there are enough unknowns that it keeps you reading, wanting to find out the whole story.
I received this book with a note from the lovely person who sent it that read, in part, “Don’t read it when you’ve got other stuff to do – so addictive.” She was right. Particularly if you are a thriller fan, this book is a bit like the worst kinds of junk food – even though you know you should stop at some point, you are compelled to keep reading. Pick up KILL THE FATHER for an exciting ride and keep your eyes open for the next novel!