Killer Rumors by Antonello Fiore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
For Philadelphia detective Frank Rinelli, life is good. He's got a loving relationship with his sister, her husband, and their lovely daughters. His work partner is Nick Lorenzzo, who happens to have been Frank's best friend since they were schoolboys. But even seasoned detective Frank is rattled when he's called upon to solve the vicious murders of two beloved Catholic priests, found with strange clues on their bodies. The priests are not the only ones to fall victim to what appears to be the evil work of two men. The detectives quickly hit upon a suspect: Tom Branchard, a defrocked former Catholic priest who fell from grace when he was convicted of horrendous crimes against his parish's young children. But what was the connection between Branchard and the two priests found murdered? And who will be the next victim?
This briskly-paced crime thriller has enough action and surprising twists to keep the reader guessing. I'm not a high-volume reader of the mystery/thriller genre, but when I do read one, I expect certain elements, including a protagonist who's likable and competent, but not a cartoonish superhero type, and Frank Rinelli is that.
By the way, if this series ever becomes a movie or a TV series, I want David Valcin from Person of Interest to play Frank.
Frank, as a narrator, is not vain enough to say, "Hey, I'm really good-looking," but you just know that he is. This novel delivers all the elements I would expect, but contains enough surprises to avoid becoming a paint-by-numbers police procedural.
Another thing this novel does really well is give us just enough of a glimpse inside the villain's head to make his motivation believable. In this case, there are two antagonists with two very different motivations - and then there's a shocker of a twist that connects them. I won't say anything else about the plot to avoid giving away any spoilers.
If you don't mind some intense action and a few gruesome crime scenes, and you're looking for a page-flipper to occupy an afternoon, give this one a chance. Do be aware that, while nothing explicit is described in the novel, mention is made of the abuse of young children, and sensitive readers may find that aspect of the story disturbing.
I received a copy of this book from the author at no cost in exchange for an honest review.