Sunday, January 4, 2009

The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston with Mario Spezi

I just finished this book. I mean just finished put it down and picked up the lap top to write this post. This is an amazing book. Usually I have a hard time reading non fiction but this was a page turner. It's the story of two writers search for the truth behind a series of serial killings that happened in Florence over the coarse of eleven years. It started out as a pretty straight forward case with investigators following leads developed by evidence found at the crime scenes. Unfortunately it devolved in to a witch hunt in which investigators started ignoring actual evidence in favor of wild conspiracy theories and hunting for a cadre of powerful mystery men possibly involved in Satanism. When Preston and Spezi started investigating the case and stating in interviews and publications an opinion that was contrary to the official investigation, in other words one based on logic, they came under suspicion themselves. Mr. Preston an American citizen was asked to leave the country and Mr. Spezi was actually arrested and charged with trying to "derail" the official investigation. That was bad enough but the powers that be decided his "subversive" actions were evidence that he was actually a member of the satanic cult behind the murders. Luckily he was released after 22 days in prison. Sadly the actual killer has never been arrested though Preston and Spezi do provide the name of the person they believe is the Monster and lay out a good argument for their hypothesis. This book also paints a vivid picture of the city of Florence itself both historically and during the course of the investigation. Someday I would like to go to Italy and though I get the impression it would probably be an easy place to get away with a crime I do think it would be a bad place to be an innocent person accused of one.

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