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David Hewson writes excellent & literate mystery-detective fiction. His character, Nic Costa, is a wonderfully three-dimensional, and his descriptions of Rome definitely give one a sense of familiarity with the city's flavor & history. This book is fairly complex, and very vivid in its descriptions of horrific killings reflecting the hideous deaths of various saints. The extremely bizarre practices of the group calling itself the Ekstasists pushes the envelope of believable perverted mental aberration --or maybe I'm naive. I don't recall a lot of hilarity in Hewson's books, but there is a scene near the end involving numerous nuns which had me cackling out loud at the grocery store.
The reader Saul Reichlin does a fine job of translating the book to audio form, with good pacing and voice, and succeeds in giving a very good performance while managing to not 'get in the way' of the book itself, meaning I was able to forget about the act of his reading and just take in the book.
21 of 21 people found this review helpful
I am a fan of David Hewson and have read most of his mystery/thrillers set in Italy. Once again, Hewson gives us several heroes although Dectective Nic Costa is regularly cited as the main character. Hewson gives almost equal billing to Leo the Chief Inspector, Gionni, Nic's partner and Theresa, the medical examiner/pathologist. Hewson again is able to place his stories and his characters in familiar Italian locations and cleverly tie his stories back to an earlier time. In this book, he makes Caravaggio almost a main character morphing the contemporary story back to Caravaggio's life in the early 17th Century.
The plot line strains even the most devoted reader's ability to suspend belief but remember this is a mystery/thriller and you get what you pay for. In earlier books, Hewson seems to give his female supporting characters the job of solving the mystery while credit for the solution stays with the male lead. This book is no exception. This time a young nun/sister/Caravaggio scholar is the real hero and along with Theresa helps Nic and the guys solve the crime.
This is not the best of the Coasta series but is worth the effort.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
This is a further instalment in the lives and work of policeman Costa and colleagues in David Hewson's Rome series. The author's fertile imagination, yet again, conjures up an extraordinary story that mixes police detection, forensic science, religion and Italian art that carries one along wanting to know what happens next in this long recording. The book stands alone as a great story, but you'll get more out of it if you've listened to the earlier books in this series and thus know some of the background to the main characters, who are brought wonderfully to life by Saul Reichlin's outstanding performance in reading the text. Performance being the operative word as he doesn't just read the words: he, using a full range of voices, dramatizes the book as if it's almost a audio play.
As a bonus you get to learn quite a bit about the Caravaggio and Italian art: sequences of discourse that relieves some of the tension created by the furious pace of other parts of the book.
21 of 23 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book written by David Hewson or narrated by Saul Reichlin?
For me this missed all the targets, not least of which was plausibility. Saul Reichlin does his best and though I intensely disliked the book from about halfway through, I did finish it....eventually.... but only out of respect for the narrator and the author.
The characters, for the most part,are pretty insipid and unbelievable as is the plot, most of which is taken up with speculation surrounding the life and work of the artist Caravaggio. If you're an art lover you may appreciate this far more than I did.
Anyway, I won't be buying any more of David Hewson's Rome Series. This is my second purchase of this particular series and though I wasn't too impressed by the first I had really hoped for better from the second one. I still just can't quite believe that this is the same guy who wrote 'The Killing', which for me was a superlative thriller with no issues surrounding plausibility or quality. It was outstanding as a book and as a TV serial.So I won't be writing off David Hewson .....just the Rome Series. Sorry but definitely NOT for me.
Has The Garden of Evil put you off other books in this genre?
What three words best describe Saul Reichlin’s performance?
Superb. Believable. Engaging.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Garden of Evil?
Most of It!
Any additional comments?
1 of 1 people found this review helpful