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The monster of Florence
2008
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Summary
In the nonfiction tradition of John Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil) and Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City), New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston presents a gripping account of crime and punishment in the lush hills surrounding Florence, Italy. In 2000, Douglas Preston fulfilled a dream to move his family to Italy. Then he discovered that the olive grove in front of their 14th century farmhouse had been the scene of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer known as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, meets Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to learn more. This is the true story of their search for--and identification of--the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. And then, in a strange twist of fate, Preston and Spezi themselves become targets of the police investigation. Preston has his phone tapped, is interrogated, and told to leave the country. Spezi fares worse: he is thrown into Italy's grim Capanne prison, accused of being the Monster of Florence himself. Like one of Preston's thrillers, The Monster Of Florence, tells a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide-and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi, caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.
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Italian journalist Spezi, source of much of the ooky background info Preston incorporated into his and Lincoln Childs' serial-murder novel Brimstone (2004), gained much of his insight into the ghastly topic from his long-term reportage on the tangled investigation of the fiend referenced by the title of this book. After moving to Florence in 2000 and excitedly hearing about the local mystery of the murders of several pairs of young lovers in the 1970s and 1980s, Preston struck up with Spezi, joined the pursuit of the malefactor, and with Spezi eventually identified and interviewed a likely suspect. The local constabulary had other ideas. As the two writers closed in, Judge Giuliano Mignini brought them up short by informally charging them with interfering with his investigation. Later, he lodged formal charges against Spezi and had him arrested. Mignini had his own prime suspects, apparently thinking a satanic cult was responsible. Talk about your knotty true-crime situations! Officially, the investigation grinds on with no end in sight, having claimed one more victim Spezi's peace of mind.--Tribby, Mike Copyright 2008 Booklist
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