In the nonfiction tradition of John Berendt and Erik Larson, the author of the #1 NYT bestseller The Lost City of the Monkey God presents a gripping account of crime and punishment in the lush hills surrounding Florence as he seeks to uncover one of the most infamous figures in Italian history.
In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more.
This is the true story of their search for--and identification of--the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of the police investigation. Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into Italy's grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself.
Like one of Preston's thrillers, The Monster of Florence, tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide-and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi, caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.
United in their obsession with a grisly Italian serial murder case almost three decades old, thriller writer Preston (coauthor, Brimstone) and Italian crime reporter Spezi seek to uncover the identity of the killer in this chilling true crime saga. From 1974 to 1985, seven pairs of lovers parked in their cars in secluded areas outside of Florence were gruesomely murdered. When Preston and his family moved into a farmhouse near the murder sites, he and Spezi began to snoop around, although witnesses had died and evidence was missing. With all of the chief suspects acquitted or released from prison on appeal, Preston and Spezi's sleuthing continued until ruthless prosecutors turned on the nosy pair, jailing Spezi and grilling Preston for obstructing justice. Only when Dateline NBC became involved in the maze of mutilated bodies and police miscues was the authors' hard work rewarded. This suspenseful procedural reveals much about the dogged writing team as well as the motives of the killers. Better than some overheated noir mysteries, this bit of real-life Florence bloodletting makes you sweat and think, and presses relentlessly on the nerves.
A good accounting of a chilling,
historical mega-crime spree in Italy. The monster is truly a monster...EAF
Monster of Florence
A good read!
True life page turner
Great read, and as other reviewers have mentioned, you can't make this up. The crimes are terrifying but the injustices of the bungled investigation and the prosecution makes this chilling to anyone who has ever had the guts to be just serve as witness in a crime, never mind research it. Witch hunting. I was not surprised that the same hierarchy was involved with the Knox case many years later.