*Holt, Jonathan. The Abomination: Book One of the Carnivia Trilogy. Harper: HarperCollins. June 2013. 448p. ISBN 978-0-06-226433-6. $25.99. Fiction

This beautifully complicated thriller, the first of a trilogy that is set primarily in Venice (both the real city and a perfect 3-D virtual re-creation), follows three protagonists as they investigate the murders of a woman dressed in priest’s vestments and of another who had made a Freedom of Information request at a military base in Italy. Carabiniere Captain Kat Tapo follows clues that lead first to a deserted island near Venice, once a cemetery and laterthe site of an asylum, where mysterious symbols match the tattoos found on the woman priest, and then to a website, Carnivia.com, where identities are hidden behind carnival masks. Holly Boland, a U.S. Army second lieutenant, unearths possible NATO involvement in illegal activities that stoked the wars in the former Yugoslavia during the 1990s. And Daniele Barbo, a brilliant but mentally unsettled hacker, enters the world he created, impenetrably anonymous, in an attempt to save himself and help the two women as they face attempts to silence them forever. VERDICT A brilliant blend of fascinating story lines, serious issues, impeccable research, gripping intrigue, and engaging characters, Holt’s debut is eminently satisfying from start to finish. Highly recommended for readers who enjoy intelligent thrillers (think Joseph Kanon).

Library Journal, 138, no. 9 (May 15, 2013), pp. 73-74.

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