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The Abomination: A Novel (Carnivia Trilogy, The) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: Carnivia Trilogy, The (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (June 18, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062264338
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062264336
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.4 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #714,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This remarkable debut novel starts off like a lot of Venetian crime novels—body discovered in a canal, acqua alta getting everyone’s feet wet—but we quickly sense this is no ordinary mystery. The body is a woman dressed like a priest—an abomination for many—and the crime quickly leads Carabinieri captain Kat Tapo into much deeper and more treacherous waters than even a Venetian is accustomed to. When another murder victim is discovered, a connection develops between Kat’s case and an investigation being conducted by an American army lieutenant, Holly Boland, who is on the trail of classified documents that could reveal CIA involvement in inciting civil war in the Balkans. Throw in a computer wizard who has created a virtual Venice, ­Carnivia.com, which has become a repository for every sort of secret—sexual, political, ­religious—and you have a multistranded conspiracy thriller with plenty of pop. Think Dan Brown without the clunky prose and the pompous PhD hero but with the fascinating mix of history, paranoia, and real-live terror (drones on your tail). Holt, an advertising director in London, expertly juggles the high-concept elements of his plot with the subtle character building that quickly establishes Kat and Holly as the kind of protagonists we will follow eagerly through the projected trilogy. Only one book in, many readers will find themselves asking, Why stop at three? --Bill Ott

Review

“Venetians love to dress up in costumes and masks.… Holt puts a breathtaking spin on this charming custom … by inventing Carnivia, an elaborate computer game. .…There is something truly haunting about those glimpses into the mysterious shadow world .” (Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review)

“Don’t be deceived by the title, The Abomination. There’s nothing unreal about Jonathan Holt’s excellent first mystery…. [He] writes in a deft engaging fashion.… The Abomination leaves you hungry for more.” (Chicago Tribune)

“This remarkable debut novel… [is] a multi-stranded conspiracy thriller with plenty of pop. Think Dan Brown without the clunky prose and the pompous PhD hero but with the fascinating mix of history, paranoia, and real-live terror (drones on your tail).” (Booklist (starred review))

“[This] first novel of a trilogy set in Venice…[has] more than enough plot and well-drawn characters to stir interest in the sequels…A skillfully rendered debut.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[A] diverting debut…Holt captures the allure of Venice and its creative cyber-counterpart, and creates two forceful . . . protagonists in Kat and Holly. The author gets carried away by throwing mystery on top of mystery, but, well, that’s part of the fun.” (Publishers Weekly)

“[A] beautifully complicated thriller…. A brilliant blend of fascinating story lines, serious issues, impeccable research, gripping intrigue, and engaging characters, Holt’s debut is eminently satisfying from start to finish. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy intelligent thrillers (think Joseph Kanon).” (Library Journal (starred review))

“Speedy, clever…. [A] very fun beach (or boat) read for fans of thrillers.” (MSN.com)

“[A] tantalizing debut, a masterful melding of religious mystery, political intrigue and just a bit of fantasy/sci-fi.” (BookPage)

More About the Author

Jonathan Holt studied English Literature at Oxford, and is now the creative director of an advertising agency. He lives in London.

Customer Reviews

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves good mysteries.
Fall Into Books
The characters are well-developed, the setting is magnificent, the mystery is captivating, and Holt's writing is top notch.
Terry South
I had a really hard time with this story because there are so many characters.
Darla Mcgranaghan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By OutlawPoet - Down the Rabbit Hole TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
When I started reading this, I had a certain expectation that I would like to address first. Based on the description - specifically about the Virtual world that mirrors real life Venice, I was expecting this to be a bit more of techno-thriller with a little cyberpunk flavor. Maybe a little reminiscent of Daniel Suarez and his exceptional tech thrillers.

While the world of Carnivia is fascinating - so fascinating that I actually stopped reading in the middle of the book and took to the web to see if the author/publisher had created a Carnivia website I could play on - the world of Carnivia and tech have very little to do with the plot. There is a tiny bit of hacker speak late in the book, but the world of Carnivia plays a small supporting role to the overall plot. (On a side note: there is, indeed, a website, but as I'm writing today, it doesn't do much. It looks cool and enhances the feel of the book, but that's about it.)

While a little disappointed in that aspect, I did really love the book. This is very hard-edged fiction. It's got murder, betrayal, violence, and political intrigue. I really try very hard not to compare a book to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but some of the same themes about the roles that women play in society - particularly underworld society - are very present here.

Above all, I loved what the author did with Venice. It was the star of the book. The author mixes the fantasy of Venice with the grit and seediness beneath its crumbling façade. Venice is one of my favorite cities in the world, and the author made it incredibly authentic.

No spoilers here, but as for the ending of the book, it was extremely satisfying, yet maddening. The author played with my mind, leaving me wondering if I truly understood his characters at all.

As for book two, I'm on board, but I really hope that Carnivia and tech come into play!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 50 REVIEWER on June 19, 2013
Format: Hardcover
In the grand tradition of thrillers that depend upon conspiracy theories, The Abomination serves up a Machiavellian plot involving NATO, the death of Aldo Moro, the Bosnian War, the Mafia, a private army, arms manufacturers, human traffickers, a corrupt Italian prosecutor, and two offshoots of the Catholic Church. Three storylines develop alongside each other in The Abomination, and for the first quarter of the novel, I was wondering how they could possibly tie together.

Kat Tapo has recently been promoted to the position of homicide detective for the Carabinieri (military police) in Venice. Her first murder investigation involves a female corpse wearing the robes of a Catholic priest. Tattoos on her body and similar marks at the crime scene -- an island that is shunned for fear of the evil spirits that purportedly haunt it -- might or might not be related to the occult. A second murder, apparently related, occurs in the hotel room that the two victims shared. Kat's attempt to investigate is obstructed at every turn.

Second Lieutenant Holly Boland has been posted to Italy, where she spent much of her childhood. In her role as an American military intelligence officer, she's asked to respond to a request for information about the relationship between the U.S. military and a Croatian commander who was responsible for atrocities committed during the Bosnian War. Her attempt to gather the requested information is obstructed at every turn.

Daniele Barbo is an antisocial computer whiz who maintains a website called Carnivia. It's sort of a social networking site combined with an Italian version of Second Life set in Venice. Because Carnivia safeguards the anonymity of its users, it is valued as a clandestine meeting place.
Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Fall Into Books on June 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Abomination by Jonathan Holt is an edge-of-your-seat thriller that cannot be missed. The characters are well-developed, the setting is magnificent, the mystery is captivating, and Holt's writing is top notch. While I'm not a huge fan of non-paranormal mysteries, this book grabbed me and did not let me go. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of this novel and would recommend it to anyone.

Kat is a terrific leading character. She's independent and strong, but she also has heart. She's flawed, but still extremely likable. The secondary characters are also strong. Each one has his or her own personality and doesn't serve as a simple filler character. The evolution of Kat is organic, and I enjoyed watching her change throughout the novel.

I absolutely adored the setting. Venice is such a unique place, and I can't think of a better area to set this novel in. Holt paints Venice in an accurate light (from what I've heard about it from friends who have traveled there), and his details allow the reader to picture the city, even if they've never visited, which I haven't. I felt as if I was in the city, though, which was a nice touch. Holt's writing is clear and concise. The plot itself is reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code, but somehow this novel still stands on its own.

Overall, I'd recommend this book to anyone who loves good mysteries. This is a fantastic debut novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Yolanda S. Bean VINE VOICE on June 12, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is quite an engaging thriller! The first in a projected trilogy set mainly in Venice, this is a thoroughly enjoyable read! The story hooks you from the very beginning, and while the cast size may initially feel a bit unwieldy, the characters all grow into surprisingly realistic people. Well - except for the American characters... their dialogue betrays the author's British-ness and is a bit distracting in the beginning. Holt does, however, handle his female lead characters very nicely. And Venice itself is beautifully, lovingly captured. The events are set in the Venetian winter, which may not be tourist season, but perhaps Holt's prose will convince others that it is worth the trek even in cooler temperatures. I have been there in both the on and off seasons, and really feel that Holt has accurately portrayed the city. Those unfamiliar with the city, though. may find themselves performing image searches for the Carnivale masks described.

I am not a technophile, so the computer aspect of this thriller originally made me a bit hesitant, but it works very well here. The technology nicely compliments the more traditional aspects of the investigation while never being overwhelming for computer neophytes. As the first book in a trilogy, it ends satisfactorily, while hinting towards where the next volume will go. All in all, this is a thrilling read with a complex plot that manages to deliver surprises that fit in very well. It is elegantly done and I really hope that the wait isn't too long for the sequel!
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