The Hunter of the Dark

You may recall that I gave Donato Carrisi's debut, The Whisperer, a perfect score a few years back. Dubbed the Italian literary thriller phenomenon, I have always remained on the lookout for anything else written by Carrisi. Read both the first one and The Lost Girls of Rome in French, so I bought the French translation for this one as well. A sequel to The Whisperer titled The Vanished Ones came out a while back and that's the one I originally meant to read next. But when I discovered that The Hunter of the Dark was out and that it was a sequel to The Lost Girls of Rome, I realized that the time was just about right for another quality thriller. And I wasn't disapointed!

Here's the blurb:

A brutal killer is on the streets of Rome. He leaves no trace. And shows no mercy.

A series of gruesome murders leaves the police force in Rome reeling, with no real clues or hard evidence to follow. Assigned to the case is Sandra Vega, a brilliant forensic analyst, struggling to come to terms with the crimes and her own past. Sandra's shared history with Marcus, a member of the ancient Penitenzeri - a unique Italian team, linked to the Vatican, and trained in the detection of true evil, means that the two are brought together again in the pursuit of a malignant killer.

Soon Marcus and Sandra notice the emergence of a disturbing pattern running alongside the latest killings - and every time they think they have grasped a fragment of the truth, they are led down yet another terrifying path.

A sensational new literary thriller from the bestselling author of The Whisperer, this novel captures the beautiful atmosphere of Rome and explores its dark and hidden secrets. 'Shiveringly intelligent', The Times.

As is Carrisi's wont, the action occurs in Italy, in and around the Eternal City of Rome. Once more, a variety of sources were used by the author to write this novel, chief among them criminology and forensic psychiatry manuals, as well as several FBI papers regarding serial killers and violent crimes. With his homework done properly, Carrisi's latest book has an unmistakable genuine feel to it. As a former jurist specializing in criminology and behavioral science, the man truly knows what he's talking about and it shows.

With both French and Italian sharing the same roots, the translation was good. I was told that the English translation for The Whisperer wasn't that great, but it appears that it was different with the English version of The Lost Girls of Rome. Checked a few reviews online and no one is complaining, so it seems that there are no issues with the translation for The Hunter of the Dark.

As I mentioned, this novel is the sequel to The Lost Girls of Rome. Reading those reviews, I came across people who have read The Hunter of the Dark without having read its predecessor and they enjoyed the experience nonetheless. True, The Hunter of the Dark is a more or less self-contained story that can work as a stand-alone book. And yet, doing so means that the reader would miss out on all the nuances that comprise the relationship between Marcus and Sandra, as well as their respective backgrounds. Hence, while it's possible to enjoy Carrisi's newest work on its own, I encourage potential readers to go for The Lost Girls of Rome first. It's an even better read, so you can't go wrong!

As was the case in The Lost Girls of Rome, the characterization was great. As usual, a man and a woman are the main protagonists. Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst, lost her husband a few years before and has finally found love again. Marcus is a man without a past. Coming out of a coma after being shot in the head in a Prague hotel room, all he remembers is that he's a former priest and he's now part of a secret brotherhood investigating horrible crimes that have come under the attention of the church. Unexpectedly, their paths will cross again as they try to find a murderer who brutally kills couples. During their investigation, another dark secret hidden by the Roman Catholic Church will be unveiled and is at the heart of all the disappearances and murders. Once again, I particularly enjoyed how flawed both characters are and how their POVs create an interesting balance between them. The perspective of the mysterious Battista Erriaga is meant to be misleading and the revelation of the man's identity and the church's secret at the end will make it well nigh impossible not to want to read the third installment when it ever gets published.

Once more, there is a thought-provoking theme underlying the entire book: The true essence of evil. Does it exist within all of us, latent and just waiting to be released? The Hunter of the Dark is another complex and multilayered thriller that hits all the right buttons. It's a clever work with plots and subplots forming a chilling tapestry, all of which culminating toward an ending that will shock you. The fact that the novel is based on true law enforcement investigation techniques compounded by the religious aspects of the tale only add another dimension to an already complicated plot.

All in all, this perturbing work is everything a thriller is meant to be. The Hunter of the Dark is another page-turner that just begs to be read. If you are looking for compelling and disturbing books delving into psychology that stay with you long after you have finished reading them, give Donato Carrisi a shot as soon as humanly possible!

The final verdict: 8.5/10

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1 commentaires:

Stinky93 said...

I am a big fan of your site. I read The Whisperer based on your review, but I felt it deserved a three out of ten. I really liked it until the nun came into the picture and then I felt the story just tanked hard.