Tripoli, 1960s. During the years in which post-colonial Libya fell prey to the sprawling greed of the West, Michele Balistreri suffered a succession of blows that would scar him for life. The death of his mother; the unspeakable horror that befell his best friend's family; his father's role in Gaddafi's ascent to power; and the innocent blood pact that would corrupt the course of his future.
Rome, 1982. In the wake of a ruinous blunder, a ground-down Commissario Balistreri escapes his regrets through sex, alcohol and gambling. His sole responsibilities are now a stilted investigation into the death of a South American student, and a tiresome obligation - as a gratitude to the man who saved his career - to a rising television starlet needing protection from the pitfalls of fame.
As the risks to this girl, Claudia Teodori, begin to rise along with her reputation, the sorrows of Balistreri's past also start to push back into his present. Both of their fates are inextricably linked - and this driven, obsessive young woman must help this damaged detective fight a foe that follows her and refuses to forget him.
For decades, Michele Balistreri, the volatile veteran detective now heading Rome's homicide squad, has avoided investigating the only murder that really matters to him: his mother's. But the day of reckoning for what befell Italia Balistreri on a windswept Libyan clifftop hours before the August 1969 coup that installed Muammar Al Gaddafi as the country's dictator can no longer be dodged in Costantini's suspenseful, at times savage, thriller, the second in his ambitious, politically steeped Evil trilogy (after 2014's The Deliverance of Evil). Investigative journalist Linda Nardi, one of the few individuals Michele cares about, has been digging into a high-stakes fiscal scandal potentially involving several people he has spent a lifetime trying to forget including his Sicilian industrialist father, Salvatore. Costantini takes his time skillfully planting the twisty, deep-lying roots of his narrative back in Libya, where young "Mike" Balistreri learns about love, brotherhood, and betrayal as well as his own darker side. He grows up with best friend Ahmed Al Bakri, the older son of his father's Libyan right-hand man, and lovely Laura Hunt, the daughter of an American CIA operative. Forty years later, with key figures from this past occupying crucial roles in global politics and business, some long-buried secrets start to explode with deadly consequences and Linda could be the next victim. Elegant prose and a diabolical plot (including some devilish misdirection) should captivate even readers new to the Balistreri chronicles.