Author: Ilaria Tuti
Genre: Crime Thriller / Murder Mystery
Format: Paperback 400 pages
Release Date: 7 February 2019
Publisher: Weidenfield & Nicolson
I would like to thank the publisher and Tracy Fenton for the invite on this blog tour and the copy of this book provided to me for review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
In a quiet village surrounded by centuries-old woods and the imposing Italian Alps, a series of violent assaults take place. Police inspector and profiler Teresa Battaglia is called back from the city when the first body is found in the woods, a naked man whose face has been disfigured and eyes gouged out.
Teresa quickly realises that the killer intends to strike again, and soon more victims are found – all having been subjected to horrendous mutilations. When a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa’s investigation becomes a race against the clock…
But Teresa is also fighting a different kind of battle: a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory…
Something devastating has taken place here in these mountains. Something that requires all my investigative abilities. My name is Teresa Battaglia, I am a police chief inspector, specialised in profiling, and I walk through hell every day. It’s not my gun, nor my uniform: my real weapon is my mind.
Yet my mind is failing me. Not my body, weathered by the passing of time, nor my tormented heart.
My name is Teresa Battaglia, I have a secret that I dare not reveal even to myself, and for the first time in my life I am afraid.
I absolutely loved the setting of this book, set in a small mountain town in Austria surrounded by woodland and with the authors beautiful descriptions I felt as if I could smell the mountain air from the comfort of my living room armchair.
The story has sections set back in the 1970’s in an orphanage where slowly but surely throughout the book we start to realise the horrors that happened there. The rest of the book is set in present day and follows Teresa Battagalia, a police officer who is tasked with tracking down a vicious killer who has disrupted the quiet peacefulness of the town.
Teresa is no-nonsense kind of character who you can tell has worked hard to gain the respect of her colleagues. At times she comes across as quite gruff and stand-offish but at the same time I got the sense that this wasn’t her true self and more a persona which she felt she had to give off to compensate for things that had happened in her past and the personal issues she currently has to deal with. Teresa’s character, much like the events that happened in the 1970’s, are revealed slowly throughout the book and her character grows at the same rate as the story.
For me this book was much more than just your typical ‘cop hunts series killer, cop finds serial killer – the end’, it explores the more complex reasons about why people become killers and made me start thinking about the ‘nature vs nurture’ debate. Are people born killers? Or can things that have happened to them in their childhood make them that way? In a bizarre turn of events for me, I actually found myself sympathising with the killer in the end and I think most readers of this book would actually have very differing views on that once they’ve read the plot and discovered the numerous twists and turns it takes.
I understand that this is the first in a series that will feature Teresa Battagalia and I can’t wait to read the next and find out how her character progresses.
About the Author
ILARIA TUTI lives in Friuli, in the far north-eastern part of Italy. FLOWERS OVER THE INFERNO, her debut novel and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy, was a top 10 bestseller on publication and the biggest debut of 2018 in Italy. Rights for the novel have been sold in over 15 countries, making her one of the most internationally successful Italian authors of recent years.
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