Hewson, David. The Flood. Severn House, October 2015. 266p. ISBN 978-0-7278-8525-8. $29.95 Mystery

Author of more than 25 books, including the Rome-based "Nic Costa" series, former British journalist Hewson introduces Pino Fratelli of the Florentine Carabinieri and English grad student Julia Wellbeloved. Pino, on permanent sick leave with an incurable brain tumor, attributes his illness to the unsolved rape and murder of his wife during the great flood that ravaged Florence in 1966. Two decades later, Julia has come to the Italian city to work on her dissertation, a study of why violence is committed against works of art. She and Pino are thrust together following an act of vandalism that damages the figure of Eve in the Brancacci Chapel frescoes. Complicating matters is the murder of one of Florence’s gay aristocrats, a man involved with an ancient secret society, La Brigata Spendereccia, in which 12 men gather for a monthly bacchanal that often results in rape. Has a new Savonarola risen to purify a corrupt city with his own Bonfire of the Vanities? VERDICT Hewson excellently integrates episodes from Florentine history into the lives of his intriguing heroes, who struggle against tremendous odds to solve mysteries old and new. Readers of Donna Leon and Michael Dibdin or Italian authors Andrea Camilleri and Carlo Lucarelli will find this gripping.

Library Journal, 140, no. 16 (October 1, 2015), 60-61.

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