Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Monster of Florence: A True Story
by Douglas Preston & Mario Spezi
(4 Scoops)

I was tempted to give this book a five, but like many true stories it doesn't have the sort of neat resolution that I wish it had. Of course, it seems the purpose of this book is not to let us all sigh a satisfied sigh that the monster has been caught and that all is right in the world, instead, it seems intent on showing how the Italian legal system is deeply flawed and itself a monster.

The Monster of Florence is a work of non-fiction that presents information about a serial killer on the loose in Florence. The first part describes these atrocities in I-can't-read-this-while-eating-or-when-it-is-time-to-go-to-sleep detail; the second tells of the ways in which the two authors find themselves ensnared in the criminal investigation. I picked this book up because my neighbors were having noisy sex and I needed a distraction. This was the wrong book for that! I stayed up until sunrise, too terrified to sleep. I thought for sure the Monster was going murder my neighbors and then I'd be stuck as a witness in a long drawn out court case!

Ultimately, the read was well worth the loss of sleep because what we have here is a deeply engaging set of facts and an excellent piece of writing.


  1. Isn't this a fascinating book? You know the nut job prosecutor is the guy handling the Amanda Knox trial. From this book alone I have to suspect she's innocent, because he clearly suffers from some sort of delusional paranoia. Kind of makes me never want to go to Italy.

  2. Right? The Knox case was bizarre too. All of these sensational, heart string tugging cases that people get so opinionated about make me nervous. As a casual observer I feel like I never have enough information to have such a strong opinion.