More murder, mayhem, and madness, Italian-style.
Dazieri’s Kill the Father (2017) introduced two psychically wounded characters, Dante Torre and Colomba Caselli, who wrestle with various demons while solving extremely nasty crimes. In this follow-up, the opening gambit is a very nasty crime indeed, with a whole train car full of victims—and that car is the first-class compartment of the Milan-to-Rome express, exciting visions of the class struggle. Of one victim, Dazieri writes by way of warming up to the subject, “the officer decided that this was the deadest dead person he’d ever laid eyes on.” Leave it to a book with a lead named Dante to impose degrees of deadness, but whatever the case, suspicion immediately falls on the usual suspects—the Muslims, that is. A few raids on mosques and one exploding head later, Dante divines that maybe the Islamic State group isn’t to blame after all; for her part, the already well-traumatized Colomba is put on leave, giving her and Dante the freedom of the highway. What they discover while trundling back and forth to Germany, Austria, and elsewhere is that the real killer is Giltine, an avenging angel of sorts, a woman engineered to a fine point of psychosis, with the fingerprints of Stasi and KGB all over the scene. “She scares me, CC,” says Dante. He’s almost as dead inside as Giltine, whose name is that of the goddess of death in ancient Lithuanian mythology, but Giltine has a special knack for recruiting people from bad novelists to Norman Bates wannabes to do her dirty work for her, a whole army of darkness. Can Dante and Colomba save the NATO powers from a woman who likes nothing better than to stick syringes full of mescaline and psylocibin into her victims’ eyes? That question is answered with the most carefully crafted of cliffhangers, one that leaves the door wide open for more blood-spilling adventures to come.
A harrowing if entertaining ride. Fans of Thomas Harris’ Hannibal Lecter series will, beg pardon, eat this up.