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Wednesday 10 May 2017

‘Kill the Father’ by Sandrone Dazieri

Published by Simon & Schuster,
9 February 2017.
ISBN: 978-1-4711-5410-2 (HB)
ISBN: 978-1-4711-5411-8(TPB)

Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli is off work, recovering from a disaster she blames on herself; Dante Torre was kidnapped, and spent his childhood in a silo, being terrorised by a man he called ‘The Father’. Now, in a park near Rome, a woman has been beheaded, and a six-year old boy is missing. The detective in charge wants to arrest the husband, but Caselli’s former boss sends her to Torre ...

This fast-paced Italian roller-coaster begins with a key moment in young Torre’s imprisonment, then moves to the present day, going between the distraught husband running by the side of the road, and Caselli’s chief drawing her into the investigation. From then on it’s a mixture of PP and PI, as Caselli is both involved with her former colleagues as one of them, and then, as she and Torre did deeper, they begin to play a lone hand. It’s told in the third person throughout, focusing on one head for one or several of the short chapters. I loved the creation of the two main characters; they’re completely convincing in their reactions to the world around them, and the damage each has sustained helps spin the plot off in unexpected directions – Dante Torre, for example is claustrophobic. Brought up in a silo – we’re given the horror of this in flashbacks – he’s never readjusted to the outside world. His sepcially-designed flat is also his adult silo. He’s on the autistic spectrum, with a photographic memory, and is now a consultant psychologist in child abuse cases. After his escape from the silo, he was reunited with his father – another plot strand – but their relations are distant, and to his horror he feels closer to ‘The Father’, although he also wants to track him down. Columba Caselli is a dedicated cop, a young high-flyer – until the disaster, which we gradually learn about over the course of the book, crippled her confidence. The growing relationship between them as they pursue what everyone else calls an implausible hypothesis is convincingly drawn. Gradually, the kidnapping of one boy in the past, one in the present, becomes more sinister, and the threads of plot are brought together in an unexpectedly sinister and frighteningly plausible way. The Italian setting is a bonus for readers elsewhere, with the way the police work is handled there brought out clearly.

A compulsive page turner, with a snake-twisting plot, stand-out characters and a vivid setting. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Sandrone Dazieri was born 4 November1964 Cremona, Italy. He is the bestselling author of fourteen novels and more than fifty screenplays. Kill the Father, the first in a planned series featuring Colomba Caselli and Dante Torre, is his UK debut.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

A review of her recent book Ghosts of the Vikings can be read here.

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