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on December 24, 2015
I am surprised by all the negative reviews of this book. I've read all the Nic Costa books that came before it in the series, and I think this is the best one. This series, and this book in particular, are much more than just murder mysteries. There is a lot of discussion of art -- Caravaggio is almost a character in this book himself -- and most of the books incorporate significant Roman architectural sites. In addition, this book focuses on the conflict in each of us between good and evil, and between the carnal and the spiritual. It's a rich, complex story. And, over the course of the series, I think the author has improved his pacing. If what you're looking for is a page-turning whodunnit, this may not be the best choice -- we know who did it fairly early on. (And, yes, there might be a few imperfect elements in the plot.) But if you want to read a mystery that is also thought-provoking and that you will remember for a long time, this is an excellent choice.
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on February 23, 2013
I keep coming back to Hewson's Costa series. The characters are well developed and likeable. They have a depth to them that allows the reader to get to know them. It is also interesting to watch Nic Costa grow as both a person and a detective. You'll also learn a bit about the art world and some of the history of an interesting painter in the process. Emily, Nic's wife, only a brief appearance but her presence is felt throughout the book. Once weakness is that she appears to be a tough, experience agent in this scene when we know she was at best a mediocre FBI agent with limited field experience. I would have liked her to stick around more to see how she and Nic developed. Still, it is a good read with an interesting plot that actually reaches back a few centuries in in its development and execution. I always learn a bit reading Hewson's books.
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on March 17, 2009
David Hewson's Nic Costa series just keeps getting better. Although The Garden of Evil more or less begins with the scene of the requisite gruesome murder, the novel quickly travels well beyond that, examining art history and appreciation, the old adage that absolute power corrupts absolutely, the benefits and drawbacks of a religious life, and love as a destructive as well as a redemptive force.

Although I was a bit disappointed to see Gianni, Theresa, and Leo step back out of the spotlight and into their supporting roles, it was in service of really fleshing out Nic's character. In this novel Nic must face the unthinkable, and everything is not tidily resolved at the end of the book.

Mr. Hewson excels at character develoment - his characters (even the minor ones) are complex and multi-faceted, not the "cardboard cut-outs" that you see in many suspense novels. Additionally, each of the Nic Costa novels has a strong sense of place - Rome (or Venice, in one book) is almost another character in the book.

Evocative, complex, and suspenseful - I truly savor these books and cannot wait for the next one.
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on February 26, 2011
Really enjoyed this mystery set in Italy. Great storytelling and historical detail, for me one of the most enjoyable parts of the novel. David Hewson is a terrific storyteller. He keeps your attention throughout the book. I found myself relating to his characters and feeling their emotions along with them. I'm looking forward to reading more books by Hewson.
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on December 9, 2012
I like David Hewson's work and have read several of the Nic Costa series. I have also read and use his excellent books on writing. Enough compliments. I could not get past the first few chapters in this book. It is a pathetic piece of drivel, and I do not recommend it to anyone. The plot set-up and characterization is beyond weak. In particular, I was very surprised at how unskilled the plot development around Emily's death is. Nic is so pathetic as a character, you think he is going to embrace his wife's killer in a "Kumbaya Moment" and dance around her body. This was so poorly done, I stopped reading, gagged, threw-up and deleted the book from my Kindle. YUK! Do not waste your time and money on this book.
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on February 24, 2013
Love it , the way the story goes round Caravaggio's paintings is very interesting, and make you go and find the paintings to see for yourself.
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WOW!!! This was a terrific addition to the Costa series. The best one yet. The characters are familiar and well developed. The storyline was totally unpredictable. A fast paced, thoroughly enjoyable experience!
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on May 28, 2009
This is truely one of the better mysteries that I have read. I highly recommend it...and if your going to Rome read the entire series!
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on December 20, 2012
This is the best one of those I read up till now. I will certainly purchase all the other books of David Hewson.
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on July 12, 2010
Hewson has now joined the pantheon of authors whose stories contain modern action guided by ancient art. These run from the mundane (RULE OF FOUR) to the good (DEVINCI CODE) to the stellar (GOSPEL). This falls somewhere in the middle. It's another great adventure in the Rome police series. Although the entire gang is back, it is the conflicted Costa who remains front and central throughout the story following an explosive opening - truly one of the best. (Hewson excels in great openings.)

The nub of the story centers around the Italian artist, Micheal Caravaggio and an alleged undiscovered painting. Part of the fun is discovering secrets of the ages (fictional and actual) and of course, the notion that a cadre of evil guys have formed a secret group based on said knowledge. In this case the knowledge leads to violent death and torture for reasons that become clear only later in the tale.

One of the author's greatest techniques is the almost seamless manner in which he blends modern action, history and character development. One is rarely aware that the discussion of an alleged 17th century murder has brought one to a 21st century one. Where the novel fails is the assertion that a minor incongruity in a painting holds a secret for the ages and that for hundreds of years no one has had the idea to check it out. Or worse, that a conspiracy is based on arcane knowledge of the art world. Our passions today derive mostly from religion and ideology and certainly not the artistic impulse.

The action and explanations become more obtuse until the grand finale, again a rousing chase/confrontation between good and evil. The real star of the show turns out to be the Catholic sister whose life intertwines with both good and evil. A great read - A-
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