First line: "The corpse opened his eyes."
Like a spider spinning a web, Donato Carrisi (The Whisperer) has intricately and stunningly crafted his sophomore thriller. The Lost Girls of Rome is a standalone novel featuring Sandra Vega, a widowed, 29-year-old forensic photographer who is convinced her husband was murdered after she discovers image clues he left in an antique camera.
In her search for answers, Vega follows the clues into the midst of a carefully kept, centuries-old Vatican secret: a group of priests, penitenzieri, investigating the worst confessed sins of humans. One penitenziere has gone rogue, however, and is giving victims opportunities for revenge. Like her husband before her, Vega’s discovery could lead straight to her death if the priest is not found and stopped.
A penitenziere explains to Vega, “There is a place where the world of light meets the world of darkness. It is there that everything happens: in the land of shadows…” This is the atmosphere Carrisi has created for The Lost Girls of Rome. There are hidden terrors, optical illusions and flickers of hope. He expertly weaves various crimes together, making the plot complex but coherent and deceivingly strong. As he connects the various strands of his web, the final product is a striking work of art.
A few potential questions arise from weaker points in the plot, including an early inquiry into a prominent character, but the foundation of the story still remains strong. Donato Carrisi’s written web is enticingly beautiful and will seductively trap readers immediately upon entering.
The Lost Girls of Rome is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780316246798) from Mulholland Books.