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The Sacred Cut (Nic Costa Mysteries) Kindle Edition

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Length: 320 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"The Lost Codex" by Alan Jacobson
Two ancient biblical documents reveal long-buried secrets that could change the world as we know it. The team's mission: find the stolen documents and capture—or kill—those responsible for unleashing a coordinated and unprecedented attack on US soil. See more

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

A young Iraqi refugee named Laila provides both the heart and the McGuffin in Hewson's elegant new thriller, the third featuring tough Roman detectives Gianni Peroni and Nic Costa (A Season for the Dead and The Villa of Mysteries). Laila inadvertently witnesses a brutal murder in Rome's Pantheon and earns the guardianship of the top cops. Childless pathologist Teresa Lupo becomes a surrogate mother to the waif as the team slowly closes in on the killer. The position of the naked corpse suggests Leonardo da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man, and carvings on the victim's flesh depict the mystical symbol of the novel's title. The novel seems headed for Dan Brown territory, but Hewson's clever puzzle remains just that, a tantalizing challenge to the detectives and to the encroaching FBI, led by abrasive agents Joel Leapman and Emily Deacon. The perp, it seems, is a serial killer who has similarly carved several victims around the world. Though the novel unfolds via familiar genre conventions—creepy passages from the killer's perspective revealing equal parts of evil and genius, turf skirmishes between our Roman heroes and the FBI suits, imperiled female victims—Hewson's solid writing and multidimensional characters command attention from start to finish of this smart, literate thriller. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This third Nic Costa mystery brings back Roman police detective Costa and his partner, loose-cannon Gianni Peroni, in another case with tentacles reaching back to the Eternal City's ancient history. We begin with a stunning set piece: it's Christmas Eve, and the city is being blanketed by a freakish snowstorm, providing an appropriately eerie landscape for the ritualistic murder of an American woman under the dome in Hadrian's Pantheon. Costa, Peroni, and their boss, Leo Falcone, a bit of a maverick himself, fume as the investigation is snatched away by the FBI. Jockeying between the locals and the ugly Americans sets the acrimonious tone until one of the FBI agents, sympathetic to the Italians, turns out to have a connection to the killer. As he's done in the past (Villa of Mysteries, 2004), Hewson expertly blends historical material into the text. This time the key that unlocks the killer's psyche lies in Roman architecture--specifically, Vitruvius' "sacred cut," the idea that the perfect building uses as its starting point the proportions of the human body. Except our killer is carving his sacred cuts into the backs of his victims. All this historical detail gives the proceedings a tasty complexity comparable to Perez-Reverte, but what really makes the novel work is the interplay between the trio of antiestablishment Roman cops--all no-nonsense guys who find ways around whatever obstacles confront them. A masterful mix of the high-concept historical thriller and the cynical contemporary Italian procedural. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Product Details

  • File Size: 1149 KB
  • Print Length: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; New Edit/Cover edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Publication Date: February 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004M18N98
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #567,803 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

David Hewson's novels have been translated into a wide range of languages, from Italian to Japanese, and his debut work, Semana Santa, set in Holy Week Spain, was filmed with Mira Sorvino. Dante's Numbers is his thirteenth published novel.

David was born in Yorkshire in 1953 and left school at the age of seventeen to work as a cub reporter on one of the smallest evening newspapers in the country in Scarborough. Eight years later he was a staff reporter on The Times in London, covering news, business and latterly working as arts correspondent. He worked on the launch of the Independent and was a weekly columnist for the Sunday Times for a decade before giving up journalism entirely in 2005 to focus on writing fiction.

Semana Santa won the WH Smith Fresh Talent award for one of the best debut novels of the year in 1996 and was later made into a movie starring Mira Sorvino and Olivier Martinez. Four standalone works followed before A Season for the Dead, the first in a series set in Italy. The seventh Roman novel featuring Nic Costa and his colleagues, Dante's Numbers, appeared in October 2008. At the end of 2006 he signed renewed contracts with Pan Macmillan in the UK and Bantam Dell in the US to extend the series to nine books, running to 2012. The titles are published in numerous languages around the world including Chinese and Japanese... and Italian.

He has featured regularly on the speaker lists of leading international book events, including the Melbourne and Ottawa writers' festivals, the Harrogate Crime Festival, Thrillerfest, Bouchercon and Left Coast Crime. He has taught at writing schools around the world and is a regular faculty member for the Book Passage Mystery Writers Conference in Corte Madera, California, where he has worked alongside writers such as Martin Cruz Smith and Michael Connelly.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Linda Pagliuco VINE VOICE on June 30, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reviewers of this book seem divided, and I have to agree with those who enjoyed The Sacred Cut. What I admire about author Hewson is simply that he is a literate writer who knows how to create likeable, thoroughly human protagonists. They're not typical, they're not omnipotent, they're not even at the top of their field or their game. Nic is just learning, and gets better with every case. Peroni is a good cop who's made a serious mistake but takes responsibility for his own choices. Teresa is a tough as nails pathologist who is scared about love but willing to stick her neck out and hope for the best. As for his villains, Hewson also makes them credibly human. Terribly twisted but human. Some of the passages relating the killer's train of thought are downright chilling. While technically a police procedural, The Sacred Cut is more a story of ordinary, well-trained people trying to solve a horrendous crime and prevent its repetition while preserving their own sense of morality. If the plotting has flaws, they are more than over-ridden by Hewson's characterizations and by his remarkably cliche-free prose. The setting in the timeless city of Rome is icing on the cake.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on January 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It's five days before Christmas, and Rome is covered in snow. Braving the elements on this cold winter night are policemen Nic Costa and Gianni Peroni, accompanied by civilian Mauro Sandri. A photographer, Sandri is assembling a documentary on the policeman and their city.

Summoned to the Pantheon by a shaken security guard, the policemen are ambushed by an intruder, who begins shooting before fleeing into the night. The policemen are unharmed, but the photographer is fatally wounded. Later, a woman's body, bearing knife marks in the elaborate pattern of the so-called Sacred Cut, is found on the premises. Seeking justice for the photographer, Costa and Peroni begin searching for the murderer; their investigation will bring them into conflict with one of the strangest killers they've ever faced, a man out to settle scores with origins in the days of Desert Storm.

A happy blend of police procedural and international thriller, Hewson's third Nic Costa novel finds the trinity of Costa, Peroni, and their Chief, the irascible Leo Falcone, in fine form, fearlessly grappling with criminals, bureaucracies, significant others, and the American intelligence community in their pursuit of the truth. Providing laughter and thrills in equal amounts, Hewson makes it look easy.

The Sacred Cut is totally compelling, one of those rare thrillers which emphasizes character over action, although Hewson acquits himself admirably in that department as well. It's the attention Hewson lavishes on his entire cast that keeps readers' interest piqued; all the rest, as they say, is gravy.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By J. D. Fegler VINE VOICE on February 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because of the snowy scene of Rome on the cover. It's been a not-so-snowy winter here, so I thought I'd make up for it with a snowy novel. This was an excellent book and truly transported me. It was an intelligent novel with many twista and turns taking place over three days near Christmas. Hewson's characters are well developed and the end left me sympathetic to many of them and hoping for more in his upcoming novel to be relased in 2007. I'm going to go back and read some of his earlier novels in this Nic Costa series while waiting for "The Lizard's Bite" to be relased.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on January 18, 2006
Format: Hardcover
In David Hewson's "The Sacred Cut," a vicious killer is loose in Rome. Three Italian policemen, Nic Costa, Leo Falcone, and Gianni Peroni, become embroiled in an ugly situation when American intelligence agents, led by an obnoxious fellow named Leapman, ride roughshod over Italian law and attempt to take control after a brutally murdered woman is found in the Pantheon. The victim's back is covered with a strange pattern of marks carved with a scalpel. Also involved is Emily Deacon, an FBI agent with expertise in architecture and a knowledge of Italian. Emily's late father, Dan, had been a friend of the killer, and she has been brought to Rome to flush out the perpetrator before he takes another life.

Although the premise of "The Sacred Cut" is engrossing enough, there is far too much talk and too little action to sustain interest for 340 pages. The heroes are likeable, especially Gianni Peroni, a hulking and scarred policeman with a gentle heart, and Emily Deacon, a troubled woman who needs to find out how and why her father died. The villain is an ex-military man, who kills with expertise and is a master of disguise. Although he constantly hears voices in his head, he is lucid enough to pull off complicated schemes that keep the authorities off balance. The plot is almost incomprehensible, and even when the author reveals some key information later in the book, it is not enough to clarify all that has come before.

Hewson tackles a variety of issues, including the American government's interference in other countries' sovereign affairs, greed, political corruption, the horrors of war, and a person's need for closure after surviving traumatic experiences.
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