David Hewson was born in Yorkshire in 1953. He worked as staff writer on The Times from 1978, and has written several novels, as well as a number of travel books. He is now a weekly columnist for The Sunday Times . Following A Season for the Dead, The Villa of Mysteries is the second in his Italian crime series featuring Detective Nic Costa. The author lives in Kent.
This second, slightly uneven entry in British writer Hewson's Nic Costa series (A Season for the Dead) picks up as the Italian detective reluctantly returns to work following a six-month hiatus after being wounded and losing his partner. Stable now-but not fully recovered-he and new partner Gianni Peroni (also damaged goods) are assigned to investigate a somewhat odd archeological find. While sifting for treasure along the banks of the Tiber, an American couple discovered the body of an adolescent girl, perfectly preserved in the rich peat. Apparently the sacrificial victim in some ancient Dionysian ritual, the girl sports an unusual tattoo and was buried with a coin in her mouth. As is soon revealed, though, her death was recent. The plot thickens when British tourist Miranda Julius reports that a mysterious man on a motorbike has abducted her 16-year-old daughter, Suzi, who resembles the dead girl. Costa and Peroni are soon joined by anti-Mafia agent Rachele D'Amato, though it's unclear how the mob is involved in the affair. Hewson does a stellar job bringing all these disparate characters together, but Costa misses and misinterprets obvious clues, asks too few questions and wraps the case up too quickly, straining credibility. Though not as tight as Hewson's first Nic Costa title, this is an atmospheric follow-up, steeped in dark ritual. (Jan. 25) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
"The climax is taut and exciting ... there's an interesting score being settled by rival mobsters, some dark family secrets coming to light and some nasty betrayals in the works.""--San Francisco Chronicle" "From the Hardcover edition."