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The Monster of Florence

por Douglas Preston, Mario Spezi

Otros autores: Ver la sección otros autores.

MiembrosReseñasPopularidadValoración promediaMenciones
2,3261025,148 (3.54)127
New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston teams up with Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to present a gripping account of crime and punishment in the lush hills surrounding Florence, Italy. The Monster of Florence is a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide--and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi are caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.--From publisher description.… (más)
  1. 00
    Waiting to Be Heard: A Memoir por Amanda Knox (cbl_tn)
    cbl_tn: The same public prosecutor in Perugia brought charges is at the center of both the Monster of Florence and Meredith Kercher murder investigations.
  2. 00
    La mujer del domingo por Carlo Fruttero (ehines)
    ehines: Very different books in terms of tone--one a rather disturbing true-crime, the other a sardonic murder mystery. But both have some interesting insights into late 20th-century Italy.
  3. 22
    El Proyecto Williamsom por John Grisham (Caramellunacy)
    Caramellunacy: True stories of corruption in the justice system. The Monster of Florence is about the search for a serial killer in Italy, The Innocent Man is a man falsely convicted and on death row.

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Mostrando 1-5 de 102 (siguiente | mostrar todos)
Like so many of the best true-crime or thriller books, Monster started off with a bang. It sets the table with an exciting and gripping narrative that covers a series of grisly and perverse murders that terrified Florence, Italy in the 1980's. The Monster crimes have never been solved, though the authors do have their ideas about who might be responsible, and they name names. Unfortunately, what starts as a fairly straightforward true-crime narrative morphs into what is essentially a critique of the Italian judicial system and an analysis of the Italian psyche with a little bit of “Hidden Florence” thrown in for spice. The Italian system of criminal investigation is not only arcane and drawn out (one of the main figures in the Monster investigation was also involved in the Amanda Knox case) but also allows strong personalities to impede an impartial search for the truth as they settle personal vendettas. The problem for me, was that the Italian criminal justice system is not particularly interesting. I did enjoy the background and history of Florence that makes up a fair bit of the book but there wasn't enough attention paid to the crimes and why they might have been done as well as the motivation of the murderer and the effects of the crimes on all involved. I felt like the authors, who were both caught up in the investigation, were writing to defend their roles in the investigation and to set the record straight from their point of view. For me, the book just lost energy and began to wander to places that were not as interesting, though I did finish it and wanted to know who they believe might have done these terrible murders. If you love Florence or even Italy, if you are a big fan of the serial killer true crime genre or if you really enjoy reading about legal systems and legal proceedings, you might enjoy the book. Otherwise I would give it a pass. ( )
  blnq | Dec 26, 2021 |
I've read quite a few true crime books and this was more interesting from a writer's point of view. However, I didn't feel as connected as I thought I might to both Preston and Spezi. ( )
  bxwretlind | Dec 10, 2021 |
Holy cow. I'm not sure I've ever read a true crime (other than In Cold Blood) and this was a wild one to start off with!

The "Monster of Florence" was a serial killer who struck mostly in the 1980s in the area outside Florence, killing young couples who were getting frisky in their cars. I'm not sure how most true crime books work, but in this situation the details of how the police and the carabinieri handled the case were even more interesting than the crimes and possible criminals. Not only were crime scenes contaminated and evidence misplaced (sometimes deliberately), but it didn't take long before police and prosecutors started going off on wild goose chases, manipulating details to fit their theories, and spinning those theories into absolutely absurd directions. The most ridiculous are conspiracy theories almost as crazy as something you'd hear from QAnon, though for the most part they're limited to local rather than global scale. And as we all know well by now in 2021, you can't go anywhere near a conspiracy theory without getting caught in it yourself, which is exactly what happens to Preston and Spezi.

Douglas Preston is a bestselling thriller writer here in the U.S. while Mario Spezi is an Italian journalist who made his career following the unnecessarily bonkers developments in the case of the Monster of Florence serial killer, about which he had written several previous books. The two became friends while Preston was living in Italy--partly on a lark and partly to research a book--and they collaborated on this book, which was published first overseas. They divided the book roughly in half, with Spezi writing the first part--the meat of the "true crime" portion--and Preston the second, picking up at the point when they started working on the case together.

The differences between the two sections are unmissable: Spezi's portion is journalistic, with almost no extra details or personal information added for flavor. This isn't a problem, per se--he does a fantastic job of laying out a very complicated series of events surrounding the crimes and the absolute messes made of their investigations in a way that is easy to follow, and if he had written the whole thing I wouldn't have felt disappointed by the experience in the slightest. But when Preston takes over in the second portion it's absolutely clear that he's a trade writer: adjectives, asides, personal details and emotions, and--crucially--a switch to first person liven up the action and elevate the book above a simple history/true crime.

Some reviewers hated that, but I actually loved it so much that it made me wish that Preston had worked with Spezi to get a little more personality into the fist part of the book. He seems like a fascinating person, but we as readers don't get much of an impression of Spezi the human being. Still, if this was the way they were going to write the book, I'm glad that Preston wrote the second half. As a thriller writer, he knows exactly how to rack up the tension--though since this is nonfiction, he can't take credit for the final-act twist in the afterword: the notorious Amanda Knox case was mismanaged by the same conspiracy theorist of a prosecutor who handled the Monster/Spezi/Preston case.

Spezi and Preston believed they had identified the man who is the actual Monster of Florence. (There was only one piece of evidence that felt like a weak spot, but unfortunately I didn't make note of it. Argh!) There were some truly egregious injustices in the course of the investigations Spezi described, and which Spezi and Preston hoped to expose in a major article. They also made what might have been a major breakthrough. So everything looks pretty good and exciting: the thriller writer is part of a real thriller story and the journalist might see his work do some real, solid good in the world. Problem is, the prosecution and the local judge are depending on this case to make their careers, and their wacko theories--more than a little inspired by a single online conspiracy theorist, in the days before casual social media contact was a thing--are totally contradicted by the cold, hard facts that Spezi has gathered.

It's not totally clear whether the police purposefully concoct the connection between Spezi and the crimes he's studied or whether they actually believe what they say. Before last year, I would have thought it was all deliberate fabrication, and Spezi and Preston do hint that this may have happened...but after this past year, I think it's entirely possible that a few supposedly smart folks got sucked into QAnon-level craziness and actually believed it. It seems more likely than that lawyers would risk tanking their careers on some harebrained fever dreams.

Preston being a well-known, wealthy American man, there isn't much the Italian law can do other than scare him. Spezi is not so lucky. The second half of the book may be Preston's to write, but much of it recounts a true crime that boils down to freedom of the press.

If you're looking for true crime and excitement, you'll probably enjoy The Monster of Florence. But if, like me, you're hoping for a little historical or social context, you'll come up short. What was Florence like, socially and economically, when the first murders occurred in the 60s, and how had things changed by the 80s, when most of the murders happened? What caused the migration of Sardinians to mainland Italy? Is this culture of corruption common among Italian police or were these isolated cases of investigations gone off the rails? How unique in Spezi in his journalistic connections to police--is he unusually well-connected, are his relationships typical for journalists in Italy? Is it common for crime reporters to be threatened for reporting on a case in a way that the police and judicial system don't like?

Despite that one weakness--contextual shallowness-- I had trouble putting this book down, which is high praise indeed. I only regret that it seems there will never be peace and justice for the families of the Monster's victims: I did a little bit of research after I finished and it looks like the case has never been reopened, even though the terrible quality of the investigations had been acknowledged by other judges by the time the book went to press in the U.S.

Random Thought Roundup

> I have no idea why Giambologna's The Rape of the Sabine Women is on the front cover. The murder victims weren't raped or kidnapped, and the victims were all pairs rather than individuals.

> Fascinating tidbit a propos of nothing: "Florentines have always harbored a suspicion of their own nobility--so much so that they early Florentine republic barred them from holding public office" (p.36).

> Apparently the Florentine Italian dialect was chosen to be official Italian. I thought it would have been Roman, given its closer connection to Latin and the great Roman Empire...but then, I should have realized otherwise, considering how long Rome was basically a backwater while Florence was one of the greatest cities in Europe.

> "In Italy, a man condemned to a life sentence is automatically granted an appeal before the Courte d'Assisse d'Appello, with a new prosecutor and a fresh panel of judges" (p. 147). What a great idea! One last chance to catch and rectify a miscarriage of justice.

> When Douglas returns to Italy after 9-11, a friend reads an extract from a poem, Constantine Cavafy's "Waiting for the Barbarians". I won't type up the last lines, which Preston quoted, but they are quite profound.

Finally, as a last note, I have to say that I'm annoyed with the publishers for including "spoilers" in the captions of the photos in the insert. ( )
  books-n-pickles | Oct 29, 2021 |
Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and this book is one of those. It's based on Italy's Jack the Ripper, a serial sex killer in the 1970's - 1980's around Florence, Italy. Apparently, the case of the Monster of Florence formed the basis of the Hannibal Lecter character. The author tells his story of how he became aware of the story of the Monster of Florence while he was living in Italy, and gradually became involved in the story and trying to determine the identity of the killer over time. Preston does a good job of covering the story and keeping interest, especially given that there is no satisfactory concluding chapter since the killer was never conclusively identified. But the author does present information on who he and his Italian collaborator feel was the true Monster of Florence. The book also makes you feel that for all its flaws, it appears that you're better off finding justice in the U.S. court system than under the Italian judicial system.

( )
  rsutto22 | Jul 15, 2021 |
Just what are "snacking friends" up to?

This true crime book, published in 2008 details the the investigation of a string of murders which took place on the outskirts of Florence (my second favorite city in Italy, Venice being #1!) from 1974 through 1985. The crimes have never been solved, although there have been several prosecutions and subsequent releases of suspects thought to be the serial killer, dubbed "Il Mostro di Firenze" or "The Monster of Florence".
he book is chock full of characters that if put in a work of fiction, would not seem to fit in the same book... Prince Roberto Corsini ( a murder victim from one of the oldest families in Florence and purported Monster of Florence), Count Niccolo Capponi ( military historian from an ancient Florentine family), Mario Spezi, (journalist /crime investigator extraordinaire ,also purported Monster of Florence), Doug Preston, (author of many crime novels, purported accomplice to Spezi), Pietro Pacciani, (incestuous child rapist, purported Monster), Mario Vianni, (retired postman, and suspected accomplice to Pacciani) , as well as several Sardinian balenti (brigands), a couple of "village idiots" and an alcoholic prostitute, and hostile incompetent investigators (akin to the Keystone Cops), an orgiastic sex ring, and supposed satanic cult!
To read more, click here to read my blog: https://tinyurl.com/y34ggsrb ( )
  Chrissylou62 | Aug 1, 2020 |
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» Añade otros autores (4 posible)

Nombre del autorRolTipo de autor¿Trabajo?Estado
Preston, Douglasautor principaltodas las edicionesconfirmado
Spezi, Marioautor principaltodas las edicionesconfirmado
Boutsikaris, DennisNarradorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Danchin, SebastianTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
Volk, KatharinaTraductorautor secundarioalgunas edicionesconfirmado
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To my partners in our Italian adventure: my wife, Christine, and
my children Aletheia and Isaac. And to my daughter Selene, who
wisely kept her feet planted firmly in America.
—Douglas Preston

A mia moglie Myriam e a mia figlia Eleonora,
che hanno scusato la mia ossessione.
—Mario Spezi
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In 1969, the year men landed on the moon, I spent an unforgettable summer in Italy.
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Wikipedia en inglés (4)

New York Times bestselling author Douglas Preston teams up with Italian investigative journalist Mario Spezi to present a gripping account of crime and punishment in the lush hills surrounding Florence, Italy. The Monster of Florence is a remarkable and harrowing story involving murder, mutilation, and suicide--and at the center of it, Preston and Spezi are caught in a bizarre prosecutorial vendetta.--From publisher description.

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Hachette Book Group

5 ediciones de este libro fueron publicadas por Hachette Book Group.

Ediciones: 0446581194, 044650534X, 160024209X, 0446581275, 1600246648


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