Delacorte, Apr 2004, 21.95, 400 pp.
Rome is stifling under the summer heat when a serial killer begins a spree that leaves the dead posing as a martyred victim of Roman Catholic Church excessive zeal. Detective partners Nic Costa and Luca Rosta finds few beneficial clues and not much cooperation from the Vatican hierarchy though the first deceased was found in a reading room on the premises.
However, their inquiries lead them to the professor of early Christianity Sara Farnese who witnessed the death in the reading room and may be the next target. Nic is immediately attracted to the beautiful academia though her past is shrouded and her sexual behavior seems mirthless and sad. As Nic and Luca dig deeper, the former wonders how the woman he is falling in love is linked to the high profile homicide case and what is her relationship is with dishonored Cardinal Michael Denney.
This is a special Italian police procedural that will intrigue readers due to the opposite pulls that yank at a beleaguered Nic. His reaction to Sara who at worst case may have committed murder and apparently at best sleeping with the sullied Cardinal fogs his brain while he and his partner try to do the right thing. His struggles make A SEASON FOR DEAD an interesting unique crime drama.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner