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The Stolen Ones (Byrne and Balzano Book 7) Kindle Edition

29 customer reviews

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Length: 418 pages Word Wise: Enabled
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Series: Byrne and Balzano (Book 7)

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A man’s body is found in a public park in Philadelphia. The victim was pushing 60 years of age and had no family. Investigators Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne discover, in the dead man’s house, a large sum of money (with no explanation of its provenance) and some old, vaguely pornographic photographs (on which are found fingerprints leading to four men, criminals who died many years ago). The latest Balzano and Byrne mystery is full of surprises and dark shadows—literal dark shadows, as part of the story concerns a long-shuttered mental asylum and a former inmate who uses it to explore the catacombs beneath the city. Fans of this tightly written series will definitely enjoy this one, and the Balzano and Byrne books work pretty nicely as stand-alones, too, so familiarity with the earlier books is not necessary. --David Pitt



"Full of surprises and dark shadows" --Booklist

"Plot-driven and compelling with hints of horror and parapsychology, this thriller is less of a whodunit and more of an exploration of character and motive. . . . Adventurous crime fiction and thriller readers and fans [of] Thomas Harris's Hannibal Lecter novels should enjoy." --Library Journal

"Richard Montanari's writing is both terrifying and lyrical, a killer combination that makes him a true stand-out in the crowded thriller market. A master storyteller at his very best." --Tess Gerritsen

"A master storyteller. Be prepared to stay up all night." --James Ellroy

"Montanari weaves a mesmerizing tale." --Lisa Gardner

Product Details

  • File Size: 1379 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316244708
  • Publisher: Mulholland Books (February 25, 2014)
  • Publication Date: February 25, 2014
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,039 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Denise Crawford TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 18, 2013
Format: Paperback
It is a rainy and stormy season in Philadelphia. A man is found with a railroad spike driven into his head in Priory Park, close to the old shut down Delaware Valley State Hospital at Cold River which used to hold many insane and homeless patients. It closed its doors forever more than twenty years ago but a man who was perhaps a patient there, Luther Wade, never left, and roams the catacombs, sewer and storm drainage tunnels beneath the city, and now commits horrific crimes. He seems to be targeting people who once were associated with that old hospital. Why them? Why now? And is there a connection to a toddler found in the middle of the street one night? Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano, long time partners with the PDD, are assigned to the case.

This book was creepy and quite hard to follow at times with the jumps back and forth in time and the characters and their relationships to each other both past and present. I found it confusing but the excellent writing kept me glued to the pages trying to see what would happen next. To tell you the truth, I am still not quite sure I understand completely who did what and all that went on from the asylum to the current murders. The last couple of chapters helped tie it up a bit, but the end of the investigation still didn't completely explain everything to my satisfaction -- or maybe I need to reread with the ending still fresh in my mind.

I found the description of Cold River and the practice of psychiatric "care" there quite unnerving and mostly unbelievable, even for fiction.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Liz Wilkins on October 22, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
Thank you to the author, publisher and netgalley for the review copy.

Destroyed by fire years ago, the infamous Philadelphia State Hospital was a warehouse for the criminally insane.
But one man never left.
A bizarre killer is at work in darkest Philadelphia and Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano must stop him. But first they must find him ....

Now I have been in from the start of the Balzano and Byrne stories so I was looking forward to this one and was very excited to get a copy. As usual I was in no way disappointed. Richard Montanari has a very distinct voice in the writing world and has become over the years a master of the craft - this particular instalment has become one of my favourites (my absolute still being "The Skin Gods" - Book 2 of the series) due to the complex and very intense storyline.

Jessica is investigating a cold case which very quickly becomes a hot potato - with Kevin on board they find themselves chasing a very dangerous man...and will have to unravel a mystery with its roots in the past.

I loved the flow of this one - snapshots of age old events give clues to what is happening in the present and the plot twists and turns in typical Montanari style until you are not sure if you are coming or going...and the ultimate resolution was one of the best so far.

Ok, I can see why some readers who are also mental health professionals have been a bit down on this one - some of the visuals if you like on asylums and what goes on in them (at least in this fictional world) are often disturbing. However the key word here is "fictional". This is a story, dramatic license is allowed and indeed required to make a compelling tale - it is in no way implied that any of this is fact.
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Format: Kindle Edition
When The Stolen Ones opens, Jessica Balzano is in law school and eventually plans to leave the force, but she still works in the Special Investigations Unit in homicide. She catches a case that involves a businessman, Robert Freitag, who was found in Priory Park in early 2013 with a railroad spike through the head. His apartment has been sealed until now, and of course Jessica jumps at the chance to gather more evidence. The only problem is, the evidence they do have (which is minimal and at times, nonsensical) was put together by the detective working the case at the time, John Garcia, who suffered from a brain tumor that eventually killed him. She and her partner, Kevin Byrne, first visit the original crime scene, then head to Freitag’s apartment, where they uncover a few things that might have a chance of leading them to his killer. Meanwhile, a man named Luther roams Philadelphia’s underground, and his ties to a killer named Eduard Kross is leading him to his next victims. When more bodies start to appear in Priory Park, the case ramps up very, very fast. If things weren’t already strange enough, a mute little girl is found in the middle of the road with ties to a past case, and a retired detective is pulled back into a nightmare that he never escaped from.

This is my first experience with Detectives Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano of the Philadelphia Police Dept., and it certainly won’t be my last. In fact, I plan to catch up the first six as soon as I can! Most of the narrative follows Balzano and Byrne as they pick apart the puzzle that is Luther, but we also get glimpses into Luther’s past at Cold River, where he was born into very tragic circumstances, and of the diabolical dream studies and experiments that were conducted there.
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