Thursday, March 15, 2012

Books read in 2012: No. 21 - The Monster of Florence

by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

Started: March 15
Finished: March 18

Notes: 20 years ago, I went through a few years in which I devoured every true-crime book I could get my hands on. I read tons of those books. At the time I wanted to be a horror writer, so I felt I was doing myself some good, educating myself about serial killers, the occult and other real-world ghouls and terrors. I eventually burned myself out and got turned off somewhat from the true-crime books, and to this day I still feel a little creeped out by such books. However, I've been drawn to The Monster of Florence for a few reasons. First off, decades back when I was reading similar literature, I remember the serial killings around Florence, Italy, upon which this book is based, and the fact those slayings were unsolved at the time. Second, I've found it interesting that the two authors of this book actually became part of the case, being considered suspects at one time or another. Also, my understanding is that despite the fact their have been multiple arrests in this case, the real killer is believed by many to never have been caught.

Mini review: Quite the interesting book, and well written. The first two-thirds of this book I quite enjoyed, this being the section detailing the events most directly concerning the slayings of a likely serial killer. The last third I felt got somewhat bogged down, but perhaps that was because the book switched away to events concerning various Italian government officials and their alleged attempts at intimidations, threats and even imprisonment (temporarily) of the writers of this book; while I found this last part of the book interesting, it didn't seem to read as well as the earlier sections. Maybe it was just me. One thing I did find interesting, and maybe makes me feel a little proud, is that the individual I felt most likely to be the real Monster of Florence is the same one the authors concluded was the killer, and I had decided upon this before reading their chapter making their revelation. Perhaps I've simply studied too much about serial killers over the years. To be honest, I found the law enforcement and court officials of Italy as portrayed in this book more frightening than I do the thoughts of a serial killer.

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