The Monster of Florence

By Douglas Preston, Mario Spezi,

Book cover of The Monster of Florence

Book description

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…

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Why read it?

3 authors picked The Monster of Florence as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Preston and Spezi’s memoir helped me learn how to write from inside a murder investigation. I knew I needed to write about my father’s unusual death and my suspicions, but I didn’t have the tools to tackle it. The two journalists describe how they solved an infamous serial killer case only to become suspects themselves. Preston and Spezi drive their story with a momentum I tried to match in telling mine.

When an American writer moves to Italy and befriends a former investigator, the two have no idea that they will soon be dragged into one of Italy’s most infamous murder cases. The Monster of Florence operated from the late 1960s through the 1980s, killing couples in the hills around Florence, always on a Saturday night when there was a new moon. The case went cold for more than a decade, but when Preston and Spezi begin to collaborate on a book about it, the prosecutor in charge of the case sets his sights on a new suspect: Spezi. The twists…

From Nicole's list on true crime to keep you up at night.

This is a true crime book about a serial killer in the countryside around Florence who was active from 1968 to 1985. He shot 16 people to death during that time. The book was recommended to me by my neighbor who is a forensic scientist specializing in fingerprints. He was impressed with how much the Italian police fumbled this case. It’s not the slick American detective stories we have come to expect. The author writes thriller books and moved to Florence with his family to write another novel, but instead got caught up in this true crime story.

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