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The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston

The Monster of Florence

by Douglas Preston (Author), Mario Spezi (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,628774,460 (3.52)105
  1. 00
    Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir by Amanda Knox (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: The same public prosecutor in Perugia brought charges is at the center of both the Monster of Florence and Meredith Kercher murder investigations.
  2. 00
    The Sunday Woman by Carlo Fruttero (ehines)
    ehines: Very different books in terms of tone--one a rather disturbing true-crime, the other a sardonic murder mystery. But both have some interesting insights into late 20th-century Italy.
  3. 22
    The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: True stories of corruption in the justice system. The Monster of Florence is about the search for a serial killer in Italy, The Innocent Man is a man falsely convicted and on death row.

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Showing 1-5 of 75 (next | show all)
I tried this book. Got through a few chapters, and found less than compelling. Giving up for something better.
  TheDivineOomba | Mar 28, 2015 |
This was my first novel by Preston that wasn't fiction, and wasn't part of the Pendergast series.

It is the true life story of the monster of Florence, a serial killer who terrorized the Tuscan countryside of Italy for years. It was horrifying to hear of these murders, especially since not long ago friends and I visited the Tuscany area. More terrifying is what happened to the author and his co-author when they were trying to write about and investigate the murders. Some of the travesties of justice (police accusing the authors of being a part of the murders, planting evidence, etc.)

It was a great read! ( )
  csweder | Jan 8, 2015 |
It was going along great, then something happened... The ending left a lot to be desired. ( )
  Jeanne.Miller | Nov 12, 2014 |
This is a non-fiction book about a serial killer in Florence, Italy. The case is unsolved. The first half of the book goes through the crimes, describing the murders of couples "caught in the act" in their cars in the hills of Florence. As horrifying as the description of the crimes is, it is nothing compared to the incompetency of the Italian police and judicial system. It was so frustrating to read about how horribly this case has been handled by officials. The book points towards a suspect, but there is no resolution. It is an interesting book, but I felt the writing style left a bit to be desired - kind of choppy and it doesn't flow very well. I'm glad I read it though - just don't expect the fabulous In Cold Blood and you'll enjoy it. ( )
  japaul22 | Oct 28, 2014 |
Thriller writer Douglas Preston went to Italy with his family intending to write a novel. Instead, he became caught up in a decades old unsolved mystery regarding a serial killer dubbed the Monster of Florence. Preston became friends with Italian journalist Mario Spezi, who had been covering the Monster of Florence investigation for years. Spezi shared with Preston the history of the Monster killings, his discoveries about the killings, and his conclusions about the Monster's identity. The two collaborated on a book to be published in Italy in 2006. In the weeks leading up to the publication date, the two became targets of the Prosecutor of Perugia. After jailing a series of suspects who proved to be innocent when the next murder took place during their incarceration, the Italian investigators abandoned a trail that seemed like it must eventually lead to the serial killer. The Prosecutor of Perugia then pursued a theory involving ritual killings by a conspiracy of occult worshipers from among the ranks of the upper middle and wealthy classes. His accusations were strangely similar to the assertions of a self-proclaimed psychic. The remainder of the story is an account of Preston's experience with the Italian justice system and issues of journalistic freedom.

Spezi and Preston's theory of the Monster's crimes makes much more sense than that of the Italian investigators. It fits the FBI profile, which the Italian investigators requested but then ignored. Perception seemed to be more important than the truth to the Italian authorities. Their initial theory of the crime seemed to be very close to the truth. The killer had to be one of a small circle of suspects with regional and family ties. The investigators began to appear foolish when they arrested one after another of the men in this circle, only to have the next murder occur while the suspect was in custody. Instead of continuing to narrow down the suspects within that circle, they abandoned that trail and refused to reopen it. All evidence was made to fit their new conspiracy theory. An object as innocuous as a doorstop became an occult object. Their behavior seemed like something right out of 17th century Salem, Massachusetts. They were literally on a witch hunt.

In the book's conclusion, Preston mentions that the Prosecutor of Perugia was in charge of the investigation of Meredith Kercher's murder and the prosecution of Amanda Knox. This prosecutor's propensity for forcing evidence to fit his theory and refusing to accept any evidence that discredits his theory removes any lingering doubt in my mind of Amanda Knox's innocence of Meredith Kercher's murder. Her book is now on my wishlist. ( )
2 vote cbl_tn | Oct 19, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Preston, DouglasAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Spezi, MarioAuthormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Boutsikaris, DennisNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Danchin, SebastianTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volk, KatharinaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my partners in our Italian adventure: my wife, Christine, and
my children Aletheia and Isaac. And to my daughter Selene, who
wisely kept her feet planted firmly in America.
—Douglas Preston

A mia moglie Myriam e a mia figlia Eleonora,
che hanno scusato la mia ossessione.
—Mario Spezi
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In 1969, the year men landed on the moon, I spent an unforgettable summer in Italy.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0446581194, Hardcover)

Amazon Best of the Month, June 2008: When author Douglas Preston moved his family to Florence he never expected he would soon become obsessed and entwined in a horrific crime story whose true-life details rivaled the plots of his own bestselling thrillers. While researching his next book, Preston met Mario Spezi, an Italian journalist who told him about the Monster of Florence, Italy's answer to Jack the Ripper, a terror who stalked lovers' lanes in the Italian countryside. The killer would strike at the most intimate time, leaving mutilated corpses in his bloody wake over a period from 1968 to 1985. One of these crimes had taken place in an olive grove on the property of Preston's new home. That was enough for him to join "Monsterologist" Spezi on a quest to name the killer, or killers, and bring closure to these unsolved crimes. Local theories and accusations flourished: the killer was a cuckolded husband; a local aristocrat; a physician or butcher, someone well-versed with knives; a satanic cult. Thomas Harris even dipped into "Monster" lore for some of Hannibal Lecter's more Grand Guignol moments in Hannibal. Add to this a paranoid police force more concerned with saving face and naming a suspect (any suspect) than with assessing the often conflicting evidence on hand, and an unbelievable twist that finds both authors charged with obstructing justice, with Spezi jailed on suspicion of being the Monster himself. The Monster of Florence is split into two sections: the first half is Spezi's story, with the latter bringing in Preston's updated involvement on the case. Together these two parts create a dark and fascinating descent into a landscape of horror that deserves to be shelved between In Cold Blood and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. --Brad Thomas Parsons

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:01:38 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Documents the author's discovery that his new family home in Florence had been the scene of a double murder, his relationship with the investigative journalist co-author, and how they both became targets of the police investigation into the murders.

» see all 5 descriptions

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