Friday, June 04, 2010

The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari .

The back cover of this book reads...

In the most brutal killing crusade Philadelphia has seen in years, a series of young Catholic women are found dead, their bodies mutilated and their hands bolted together. Each clutches a rosary in her lifeless grasp.

Veteran cop Kevin Byrne and his rookie partner Jessica Balzano set out to hunt down the elusive killer, who leads them deeper and deeper into the abyss of a madman's depravity. Suspects appear before them like bad dreams - and vanish just as quickly.

...This book has 497 pages and was written in 2005. In the end there are 9 deaths featured in this novel which is a crime thriller. I found this book okay, I will give it 3 stars on book army and it passed my quality threshold. The Rosary Girls is nothing special though, so I will not buy another of Richard's books. This book will be okay if it is passed on to you but do not go out and buy a copy because there are better books in the shops.

One nice touch about this book is that there are several short chapters throughout the novel that are written solely in italics. These short chapters contain only the thoughts of the killer. However, the Rosary killer plays a very small part of the story. Yes, you read about the deaths but you do not read about the killer. You read about the crime scene but the actual Rosary killer is only mentioned in passing.

The detectives investigate the killings and follow 2 suspects who later prove to be innocent. As a reader you will also suspect the same 2 individuals but also another 2 characters who also later prove to be quite innocent. You do not need to be an expert in religion to understand the rosary and Catholicism. The reasoning behind the plot is weak. The Rosary Girls is a shallow run-of-the-mill story with a poor ending. It is not really about solving the crime but more about working with a partner. This novel is quite buddy-buddy and explores police life and working relationships in great detail. Kevin Byrne and Jessica Balzano are the central characters and are both portrayed as good, salt of the earth people. Richard does over-play the multi-cultural aspects of this novel, it is all aligned to Irish-American this or Italian-American that. The main message of this novel and the part you take away with you is that it is so very easy to accuse the wrong person just because they tick all the right boxes.
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