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Friday 23 October 2015

‘The Shutter Man’ by Richard Mantanari

Published by Sphere,
13 August 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-4934-8.

Since the 1940's when the Farren family moved there from Ireland, they have terrorised the neighbourhood known as The Devil's Pocket in Philadelphia. Down through the years one or another of the Farrens have been jailed. This continues to the present day. The youngest member of the family Michael, who likes to be known as Billy the Wolf, was hit by a car when he was younger and was in a coma for two years. He sustained brain damage and it affected his ability to recognise faces. Because of this he has to carry photographs of his family and friends around with him.

In 2015 one gruesome murder after another takes place and although Detective Byrne suspects they areconnected to the Farren family, cannot work out how and why.

Who is it heard singing the death song before each murder? Also what is the meaning of the puzzling message written in blood on a white handkerchief and left at the scene of each killing? After consulting an expert on religious codes etc. Detective Byrne makes a connection to the past. Together with the help of Assistant District Attorney Jessica Balzano he solves a very complicated case.

This is a very well written and intriguing book and the pace never lets up. Although it is divulged almost from the first murder who  are the culprits, it is a mystery as to why they are carrying them out. Also why is a   certain horrific ritual performed after every killing?

I do like a book that is full of “what ifs” and “whys” and this certainly delivers. The ending is especially satisfying and all the loose ends are tied up satisfactorily. This as they say was “a cracking good read”!
Reviewer: Tricia Chappell

Richard Montanari was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the scion of a traditional Italian-American family, which means he learned two things very early in life. One: ravioli tastes much better than baby formula. Two: if you don't get to the table on time, there is no ravioli. After an undistinguished academic career, Richard traveled Europe extensively, living in London for a time, where he sold clothing in Chelsea, and foreign language encyclopedias door-to-door in Hampstead Heath.  Needless to say, he hawked a few more ties than tomes, but neither job paid enough to keep him in beer and skittles. So, he returned to the States and joined his family's construction firm.  Five years and a hundred smashed thumbs later, he decided that writing might be a better job. After working as a freelance writer for years, during which time he was published in more than two hundred publications -- including The Chicago Tribune, The Detroit Free Press, The Seattle Times, and many others -- Richard wrote three pages of what was to become the first chapter of  Deviant Way.  He was immediately signed to a New York agency. When he finished the book, Michael Korda signed him to a two-book deal at Simon & Schuster. In 1996 Deviant won the OLMA for Best First Mystery.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf  (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

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