Detective Philip Dorian of the 16th Chicago Precinct is called to investigate the serial killing and mutilation of retired, former pedophile priests in the Chicagoland area. It becomes later discovered that Monsignor Joseph Kilbane, chief of staff to the Cardinal, had previously approached his childhood friend, Anthony ‘Little Tony’ DiMatteo to lend him a “hit man’ to commit the murders of these pedophile ex-priests for their insurance money. Although the plot sounds interesting, Little Tony isn’t interested, and the Monsignor abandons the idea. During the reigns of prior Chicago bishops and cardinals over the last fifty years, many of these former pedophile priests were allegedly, forced to resign and sheltered away from criminal prosecution, with the caveat that they allow the Archdiocese of Chicago to be the beneficiary of their large life insurances policies. These policies were taken out on these former priests ‘as a form of penance for their lives of being sexual predators’. With the innumerate sexual child abuse lawsuits that have been currently filed and settled by the Archdiocese, they are now on the brink of bankruptcy. A serial killer is now out there, and Monsignor Kilbane has no idea who is perpetrating these gruesome homicides, essentially framing him and the Archdiocese for these “Pedophile Priest Murders”.
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Dr. David Fazio is a maternity physician at Chicago-Western Medical Hospital. He is a handsome, divorced baby doctor who has more than his share of personal flaws. But Dr. Fazio has one good moral quality going for him: He is a pro-life obstetrician. In a state where late term abortions are now legal, he is being strongly encouraged by the hospital to perform abortions to any patient requesting one.Dr. Fazio has one other problem…he has horrific sleep issues and has been known to be a sleepwalker. He wakes up one morning with severe burns on his hands, while a family planning clinic one block away has burned down to the ground with casualties. The authorities are now suspicious, as the “Abortion Arsonist” is burning down clinics in Chicagoland, and Dr. Fazio has no clue who it is.Every time Dr. Fazio sleeps, he has no concept of where he’ll wake up or any memory of what damage ha may have done the night before…
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Demons of Divine Wrath by Edward Izzi is a fiction thriller about two murders tied to works of art stolen from the Uffizi Museum in Florence 75 years ago by the Nazis during World War II. Hermman Kalkschmidt dies in his apartment in Munich of an apparent gas leak. But the police detective soon suspects that things are not as they seem. Then six months later, another man is found dead in a hotel suite in Chicago. It is clear from the start that Don Carlo Marchese’s assassination is not a contracted mob hit. When newspaper reporter Paul Crawford begins to dig into the matter, he discovers an unexpected Vatican connection. Can Paul uncover why the mobster was killed, and what happened to the stolen artwork?
This book had a complex story line with many different threads that all tied back to the discovery of the stolen artwork. It was interesting to read the part that took place in 1943 Florence. I liked learning how all the pieces of the story fit together and how the mobster’s assassination in Chicago was connected to the murder of an eighty year old man in Germany. I was surprised by who had ordered the hit on Hermann Kalkschmidt when that person’s identity was revealed. I was intrigued to find out what happened to the hidden artwork after it went missing again. The ending of the book had a surprise twist that I didn’t expect.
The story started out a bit slow with a lot of description of settings and characters. For the first couple of chapters we’re introduced to new characters but no connections are yet made between the characters making it feel a bit disjointed. I felt that there were a lot of unnecessary detail throughout the book; such as airline flight number, seat assignment number, and street addresses.
Otherwise, I thought Demons of Divine Wrath is a riveting crime thriller with an engrossing plot that is propelled by captivating characters. This is yet another suspenseful whodunit novel by Edward Izzi.
Pages: 405 | ASIN: B07VMZJHM9
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John Valentino isn’t going anywhere fast. The middle aged, Detroit-based Detective has just been suspended from work after beating a colleague to a pulp, his marriage has fallen to pieces, and his drinking has spiraled out of control. Haunted by the events surrounding his father’s murder almost forty years before, John is self-destructive, bubbling over with rage and guilt, making him the prime suspect when his father’s killers start turning up dead. But is John really capable of putting an end to his family’s decades old vendetta, or is there someone else moving through the city undetected, enacting their long-awaited revenge?
The gripping new novel by renowned crime author, Edward Izzi, El Camino Drive, is an easily-accessible thriller, which delivers its readers jolt after jolt. Cleverly constructed twists and turns will keep most crime fiction fans guessing until the very end, with a range of secondary characters weaving in and out of different decades and narratives. John’s troubled present is interwoven with his father’s own checkered history, and Izzi is more than capable of handling the slips in time to probe family ties, trauma, addiction, justice, and redemption.
You can’t help but like the book’s flawed protagonist, with his blatant disregard for authority and often misplaced good intentions, however little time is spent with female characters, who are all too often rated on their physical appearance and little else.
Police procedurals play a relatively minor role in El Camino Drive, which is carried along more by the strong dialogue than by the usual detective work you would expect of a whodunit. Due to his suspension from the force, John is instead left to negotiate a minefield of long-standing vendettas, long-lost familial connections, as well as the contemporary dating scene. The premise is unique enough to engross most thriller, mystery, and crime fiction readers, however tweaks to the prose in order to create a more vivid, atmospheric read, would help attract a wider audience.
El Camino Drive is an immersive and enjoyable follow-up to Izzi’s earlier work. A modern take on American pulp fiction, El Camino Drive can alternate between fast, furious, and sleazy, almost like a video game plot turned novel.
Pages: 463 | ASIN: B08F4DPNMN
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Detective John Valentino from Detroit’s Third Precinct knows El Camino Drive very well…his father was murdered there over forty years ago. On Halloween 1978, Antonio Valentino was gunned down after work by three men, alleging that he was having an affair with one of their wives. He was shot in cold blood, and his killers were later exonerated, claiming self-defense. They believed that a toy pistol in the victim’s pocket was an actual weapon. In a very public declaration after the murder trial, his uncle Rossano Valentino announces a vendetta against his brother’s killers. Over forty years later, Detective Valentino is now an alcoholic. He has lost his wife and family to his drinking and has just buried his mother. When he and his sisters clean out the attic of her home, they find an old, locked wooden trunk, containing an evidence bag and contents from the night of the murder in 1978. And in a clear plastic bag, is a blood-stained, green water pistol he once owned as a little boy…the very toy his father used to fool his killers. Frustrated with his life problems and blaming them on his father’s death, Valentino decides to avenge the murder of his father and follow through with Rossano’s family vendetta. One hot, July evening, the wife of the man who planned the murder over forty years ago, is found brutally stabbed to death in her ex-husband’s mobile home. Next to her body, is a poem from the killer, and a green, toy water pistol.The Detroit detective has no idea who did it, as his uncle is now too old and sickly to commit murder. One by one, the murderers who killed his father are brutally slain, while Valentino has no clue who the “Water Pistol Killer” is. He doesn’t have any idea who is fulfilling this old vendetta. Now John Valentino is considered the prime suspect. And after every murder, next to each body, is a new stanza to the same poem…and a green, toy water gun.
Quando Dormo (When I Sleep) by Edward Izzi is a suspenseful thriller about Dr. David Fazio, a pro-life obstetrician, divorced twice, and as handsome as he is philanderous. Dr. Fazio is not shy of flaws, personal and otherwise, with an army of scorned women in his past and severe insomnia while also being known as a sleepwalker. At a time where multiple family planning clinics are being burned to the ground, Dr. Fazio’s pro-life views and unknown night-time sleepwalks catches up to him as authorities are determined to find this “Abortion Arsonist”. It especially does not help when he wakes up with burns on his hands one morning. Quando Dormo is a well-written and enticing novel with in-depth characters and intertwining relationships.
One of the most interesting parts in this novel was the relationships between the myriad of characters that appear throughout the novel. At least fifteen characters are introduced and even though that may sound overwhelming, Izzi masterfully crafts these delicate intertwining relationships between each one of them. These relationships that have been created at first seem disconnected but as the novel moves on, it is revealed how everyone relates to each other in some way or the other. This ultimately leads to the mystery aspect of the story and gives readers a satisfying feeling once everything is understood.
Quando Dormo is set in modern-day Chicago, there is not a lot of setting description which can be considered a downside, but Izzi finds a way to compensate for this. Mainly, through his characters, the way they speak to each other, and the few different cultures that appear throughout which is true to real world Chicago. Speaking of which, Italian culture is explored authentically and amusingly through the main character, Dr. Fazio’s heavily Italian family. Dr. David Fazio may not be an extremely likable character as he is a known womanizer and the story delves into some of his previous girlfriend’s lives and their, not so favorable, feelings toward him. However, we do see his positive traits and fascinating character growth throughout the novel.
A fair warning should be given before people go into this compelling novel. There are many contrasting and controversial opinions on pro-life and pro-choice from different characters. And the actions that some of these characters take are extreme which can be unpleasant to some readers. But if this doesn’t bother you then you are in for an entertainingly provocative tale.
Pages: 394 | ASIN: B085XQY8XX