Friday, January 31, 2014

A Season for the Dead by David Hewson

David Hewson's protagonist, Nic Costa, is a young state police officer in Rome, Italy.  As is the case with many protagonists in gritty, seedy police thrillers, Nic gets the crap kicked out of him, physically and psychologically, regularly, while working complex cases in Rome, and a few other locations. 

The writing style reminds me of John Le Carre because of the omniscient narrator who creeps inside the minds of even the sickest characters.  But Hewson takes it further, and puts us, at times, even into the minds of the murder victims as they die, which is disgusting.

He also explicitly describes sex scenes to the point of pornography, even rape-porn, and pedo-porn.  I find that dangerous and irresponsible writing, because it can encourage weak minds to develop damaging, hateful, evil fetishes.

Supposedly an Italian production company is producing a TV film series from the books.  I cannot imagine how they will handle those elements, and the fact that sex appears to be the motive for pretty much all the crimes in the books.

As the book series progresses, the author seems to leave his protagonist, Nic Costa, behind.  Nic feels like just one of the many characters in the books, rather than the one for whom we might want to root, or feel some sympathy.  That varies from book to book.

The Nic Costa Series books:
  1. A Season for the Dead
  2. The Villa of Mysteries
  3. The Sacred Cut
  4. The Lizard's Bite
  5. The Seventh Sacrament
  6. The Garden of Evil
  7. Dante's Numbers (or The Dante Killings)
  8. The Blue Demon (or The City of Fear)
  9. The Fallen Angel
  10. Carnival for the Dead

The books in the series are available in various formats.  Here are the versions of A Season for the Dead available at

You can visit the author's website.

While not a big fan of the series, I am a fan of Rome, in moderation, because it is such a big city, full of graffiti and traffic, and the remains of the Romans are in such a poor state.  Here is a 3 minute video postcard of Rome:

This review is by Candida Martinelli, of Candida Martinelli's Italophile Site, and the author of the cozy-murder-mystery novel AN EXTRA VIRGIN PRESSING MURDER, and the young-adult/adult mystery novel series THE VIOLET STRANGE MYSTERIES the first book of which is VIOLET'S PROBLEM.

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