Exiled from Rome after annoying his superiors (Sacred Cut, 2005), Nic Costa lands in Venetian hot water.
In his own understated way, Nic Costa is a committed iconoclast, bound to get in every senior cop’s face, even if it’s that of the senior cop to whom he now reports. In his own overbearing way, Commissario Gianfranco Randazzo is the very model of a bumptious martinet, unlikely to bond with young Nic over a case of murder. On a tiny private island just off Venice, Bella and Uriel Arcangelo, members of a once-rich and powerful family, are found dead after an explosion in their glass-making furnace. Their deaths are only partly accidental, insists Commissario Randazzo: Uriel murdered his wife and met his own fiery fate thereafter. He orders an investigation to support this conclusion and adds a baleful warning about the dire consequences of disobeying his order. Nic naturally begins to wonder whether something’s rotten in the upper echelons of the Questura, especially after villainous Englishman Hugo Massiter returns from an earlier adventure. Handsome and worldly Hugo, a closet sociopath, is as usual up to his eyeballs in cruelty, greed and the complicity of a certain crooked commissario. Pitted against them, Nic finds himself and much that he holds dear—his girlfriend, career and value system—imperiled.
An irresistible protagonist and an attractive prose style are burdened by a hundred pages too many.