Reality Check: The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi

on Monday, December 20, 2010
I grew up on true crime books. The Stranger Beside Me, Hunting The Devil, The Shrine of Jeffrey Dahmer. I just couldn't get enough. So obsessed was I that my parents were called into school a number of times so that my teachers could voice their concerns. Most notable was dear Mrs. Begley, who found expressions of extreme violence in my creative writing output. She famously told my mum that "he writes very well, but couldn't he just once write about flowers and hills?" So next story I wrote for her class (hilariously named Writing For Young Authors - the class, not the story!) had someone murdered on a hill and their body sprinkled with flowers.

When it came to putting together the list of books I would attempt for the December Challenge I figured it would be a good opportunity for me to check out what's making it big in the genre these days. Preston and Spezi's investigation into the Monster of Florence serial killings (which, if you like literary trivia, were the inspiration for Thomas Harris's final Hannibal Lecter book) had been getting some serious raves so I thought I'd give it a go.

Pull up your green eggs and ham, folks. Here's what I thought:

Somewhere near Florence in picturesque hills
There lurks a monster who viciously kills
To this day unsolved by detectives inept
These journos turned up on the list of suspects
Point as they might to Sardinian trails
Frustrated, it ends with them chasing their tails


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