It’s weird when a book becomes something you’re not expecting. I recently read a book that ventured into the mystical… and I wasn’t quite ready for it. This book by Sandrone Dazieri – the first UK release for the author of 8 novels and 50 screenplays – was good. Indeed, I demolished the first half in a sitting. But – it became something kinda different as Dazieri introduced elements that, well… while they may have made sense to many, were less of interest to me.
Kill the Father
by Sandrone Dazieri
Published by Simon & Schuster UK
on January 4th 2017
Source: Simon & Schuster
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
When a woman is beheaded in a park outside Rome and her six-year-old son goes missing, the police unit assigned to the case sees an easy solution: they arrest the woman’s husband and await his confession.
But the Chief of Rome’s Major Crimes unit doubts things are so simple. Secretly, he lures to the case two of Italy’s top analytical minds: Deputy Captain Colomba Caselli, a fierce, warrior-like detective still reeling from having survived a bloody catastrophe, and Dante Torre, a man who spent his childhood trapped inside a concrete silo.
Fed through the gloved hand of a masked kidnapper who called himself “The Father,” Dante emerged from his ordeal with crippling claustrophobia but, also, with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and hyper-observant capacities.
All evidence suggests that the Father is back and active after being dormant for decades. Indeed, he has left tell-tale signs that signal he’s looking forward to a reunion with Dante. But when Columba and Dante begin following the ever-more-bizarre trail of clues, they grasp that what’s really going on is darker than they ever imagined.
The book kicks off with some political game-playing between different levels of police services. I’ve mentioned before I get confused re other countries and their law enforcement systems, but in this case it didn’t really matter. It is however, important to understand that Colomba is brought in by her boss… even though she’s still recovering from an incident we learn about later. And it’s Colomba’s boss who points her in the direction of Dante, the prickly pair developing an unlikely partnership; two fragile and damaged souls working together to find a sadistic killer. Kinda.
Italian law enforcement-politics aside, much of the early novel introduces us to our two leads, and their backstories are cleverly eked out. Initially I thought there may have been previous books in the series, but that’s not the case (indeed, this is billed as the first in a new series) and Dazieri provides us with everything we need to know.
I was interested to read in Dazieri’s bio that he’s worked on a lot of screenplays, as there’s something very visual about this book. It’d translate well onto screen and it will be interesting to see if that happens at some point.
Because I’m a lover of books about psychopathic killers (!!!) I was intrigued by The Father and Dante’s assertion that his captor was back. I was also ‘captivated’ by The Father’s motives for taking these boys and holding them for so long. Snippets of Dante’s memories and the occasional glimpse into The Father’s mind give us some insight but I was eager to understand the psychology behind his actions and why 6yr old Dante was selected and held for 11 years before his escape.
And this is where – sadly – things went a little awry for me. The book slowed (even dragged) a little halfway through and I found it easier than I should have to put it aside (given my enthusiasm for the first half). It was then (if felt like) a whole new plot emerged and it became something quite different from the psychological thriller I thought I was reading. I can’t say too much about it, but – peripherally anyway – we start to deal with a different sort of evil.
That’s not to say it wasn’t enjoyable and wouldn’t appeal to many. In fact, I think most would prefer it to the more macabre psychopathic predilections of a madman, but… for me it was unexpected and added a complexity (and whole new plot) that wasn’t necessary as well as a few too many coincidences.
However, I really loved the characters Dazieri created. Colomba arrived fully formed – which is why I assumed this wasn’t her first time on the page, but the backstory we get gives us the context we need. And Dante – with his foibles and baggage – is likeable and sympathetic.
I gather this isn’t a translation and it’s well-written. There is an occasional phrase which seems a bit awkward or overly formal (the additional inclusion of someone’s name where it’s not needed for example) – which could be a cultural thing… the way in which others communicate, or could just have been missed by an editor. The novel’s pretty long, at nearly 500 pages, so could probably be tightened a little.
As I said, I note this will be the first in a series and I’ll definitely go back for more as I’m keen to know what happens to our unlikely duo.
Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri was published in Australia by Simon & Schuster and is now available.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.