The Monster of Florence

The Monster of Florence : A True Story

3.73 (25,122 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Monster of Florence, which was shortlisted for the prestigious CWA Gold Dagger Award for Non Fiction in 2010, is a true account of brutal serial murder in idyllic Florence. After settling in Italy in 2000, Douglas Preston discovered that the olive grove in front of his family's new home had been the scene of one of the most infamous double-murders in Italian history, committed by a serial killer who had never been found and was known only as the Monster of Florence. Preston, intrigued, met Italian journalist Mario Spezi, who had followed the case since the first murders in 1974, to learn more.

This is the true story of their search for - and identification of - the man they believe committed the crimes, and their chilling interview with him. It's also the story of how Preston and Spezi themselves became embroiled in the case. Like one of Preston's bestselling thrillers, The Monster of Florence tells a gripping and harrowing story of murder, mutilation, suspicion and ruined lives - and at the centre of it, two brave writers trying to uncover the truth at all costs. This latest edition includes an explosive afterword about the much-publicised murder of a British student, Meredith Kercher, and its connection to the monster case.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 448 pages
  • 128 x 196 x 24mm | 299.37g
  • Virgin Books
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1 x 8 mono
  • 0753517043
  • 9780753517048
  • 72,714

Review Text

"The fascinating story unfolds with memorable characters and dizzying plot twists that could come off as far-fetched if the book was fictional ... the two collaborators skillfully weave the narratives back and forth to create, at times, a razor's edge of tension"
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Review quote

"An intriguing and fascinating page-turner ... with as many twists as a novel ... Tuscany is as vividly drawn as the people who inhabit its landscape ... a cracking read" * Minette Walters * "The fascinating story unfolds with memorable characters and dizzying plot twists that could come off as far-fetched if the book was fictional ... the two collaborators skillfully weave the narratives back and forth to create, at times, a razor's edge of tension" * Associated Press * "Lucid and mesmerising" * TIME * "The authors have brilliantly mapped out the dark, labyrinthine story of his crimes" * Men's Vogue * "A meticulous account" * Kirkus *
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About Mario Spezi

Douglas Preston is a renowned author of both fiction and non-fiction, including The Codex, Relic and The Book of the Dead (co-written with Lincoln Child), which topped the New York Times bestseller list for six weeks. He has written articles for The New Yorker, Reader's Digest, National Geographic, Harper's, Smithsonian and Atlantic. He also worked for the American Museum of Natural History as managing editor of Curator magazine.

Mario Spezi is an Italian journalist writing for La Nazione, who has been investigating the Monster of Florence case since the first murders in 1974.
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Rating details

25,122 ratings
3.73 out of 5 stars
5 23% (5,688)
4 39% (9,862)
3 29% (7,184)
2 8% (1,901)
1 2% (487)

Our customer reviews

The disturbing case of the monster of Florence and the identity of the one behind the killing spree around the idyllic Florentine countryside have surely had an impact on worldwide media. So much that the mysterious perpetrator was dubbed 'the Italian answer to our Jack the Ripper'. Douglas Preston's The Monster of Florence' offers an eye-opening version of what may have happened in the years of the killings, casting serious doubts on the identity of the man that in the 1990s was accused and tried as being the monster. The book is divided in two parts, the first one recounting the story of Italian journalist Mario Spezi, who has covered the case since the beginning and is considered a leading authority on it, and the second one is the eye-witness account of Preston himself who met Spezi during his 4-year spell in Italy. Reconstructing the trend of all six homicides that took place over the course of 17 years and presenting ground-breaking new evidence, Preston and Spezi have co-authored this book with an agenda: to pursue the truth behind the monster and at the same time draw a profile of the real perpetrator, using very useful evidence that was dismissed by the official investigation. Relying mostly upon the account of Spezi, as the guide to the case, Preston argues that the official investigation was severely undermined when in the 1980s, the two prosecutors in charge followed different trails, and the more reliable one was inexplicably dismissed as fruitless. In his methodical, painstaking search for the truth, Preston demonstrates how the precious evidence at hand was mistreated and how the Pacciani trial was sheer outrage (the Florentine farmer who was accused of being the monster and later acquitted). Reporting the presence of pseudo-accomplices at the trial and insisting that the poor farmer was seemingly framed, the Massachusetts journalist also dedicates a few of his pages to the eternally grieving families of the victims. Writing about families torn apart by the loss of children and about distinguished, honoured citizens who were accused of being the monster in the media frenzy that led to the conviction of Pacciani, Preston's account also becomes a chance to provide the world with the real truth about the number of victims that the monster case has left in its wake. In the second part of the book, Preston reports his own story directly, which begins with his arrival in Italy and his meeting with Mario Spezi and their friendship born out of the will to bring the truth to surface. Preston`s account here is so skilfully written that the reader just cannot help empathising with him. After almost 20 years since the last murder perpetrated in the Scopeti clearance, the American journalist has now a chance to back up Spezi's story with his own one, explaining how he unfathomably became a suspect in the investigation and how conspiracy theories and other dodgy internet-based evidence led to the inexcusable incarceration of his friend Spezi, which nearly prevented this book from being published! As tempted as I am to carry on sharing my impressions on this page-turner, I am going to have to stop right here because not even 20 pages would be enough to hold it all. My recommendation to all fellow customers is to pick up this book, for it is an enthralling read from the first to the last page. What is more, customers interested in our fellow British Meredith Kercher case, who was murdered two years ago while residing in Italy as an exchange student, might find this edition all the more appealing as it comes with a general review by Preston on this more recent more
by Antonio Battagliotti
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