Dear old dad is a bit of a psychopath, and it’s up to a damaged dynamic duo to stop him from committing more mayhem.
In this American debut by much-published Italian novelist and screenwriter Dazieri, two sleuths join forces in Rome and set about solving one of the nastier crimes in recent memory: a woman is decapitated, and her son is spirited away by a mysterious figure. All fingers point to an obvious suspect, but Dante Torre and Colomba Caselli know better. Colomba, herself “a woman warrior who rode stallions bareback and cut her enemies’ heads off with a scimitar”—figuratively, that is—has been taking time off from the metro police force after one trauma-induced panic attack too many. Dante, for his part, has himself spent time in the custody of the sinister bad guy known as The Father, who once fancied himself an in loco parentis sort of surrogate but hasn’t much been heard of since escaping from the law and has “been on the loose for thirty-five years committing all kinds of foul crimes.” There are twists aplenty as Dante and Colomba track down The Father, even as he spins an ever finer trap for them: there’s the chance that Dante wasn’t the only kidnapped boy to have gotten away from his evil warden, and then there’s the presence of a creepy German guy with a tattoo that, in a nice nod to historical amnesia and modern corporatism, “depicted a small blue bird that vaguely resembled the Twitter logo.” Can Dante fend off his well-earned claustrophobia and Colomba her freakouts long enough to lasso Pops before he slips away to set up psycho shop in another country? Will we ever learn what motivates The Father to his unfatherly acts? It’s worth sticking with Dazieri’s yarn to find out, with a plotline as involved and involving as Jean-Christophe Grangé’s kindred whodunit The Crimson Rivers.
Though following a path well-worn by the likes of Stephen King and Stieg Larsson, a dark treat for mystery buffs.