Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

Well, summer is here and even in the hustle and bustle I’ve been managing to read a few good books. The most recent non-fiction I’ve read is the hot new title by Douglas Preston, The Monster of Florence (click title to request). It’s a compelling read about a frightening set of serial killings in rural Florence, Italy which occurred between 1968 and 1984.

The most interesting thing to me was the unfolding story of the backward rural Italian justice system. The interfighting between the local police and the national Carabinieri plus the over-involvment of the judiciary at the investigation-level was astounding. Plus the random formation and disbanding of squads during the investigation time period seemed so inefficient. The idea that the serial killings were ritualistic and perpetuated by a satanic cult, in spite of obvious evidence of a single psychopathic killer, took hold in the public imagination as well as the imagination of investigators and perpetuated a series of wrongful arrests and prosecutions.

The two authors, crime writer Preston and Spezi, the journalist whose investigative coverage of the killings earned him the moniker The Monsterologist, also came under fire from the Italian justice system, apparently because they disagreed with the way the case had been handled. Spezi ended up in jail, one of the unfortunates who were falsely accused of being The Monster.

I won’t give any spoilers here, because the book is definitely worth a read and I encourage you to get it from the library!

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