The Deliverance of Evil

The Deliverance of Evil

Book - 2014
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Random House, Inc.

On July 11, 1982, Elisa Sordi was beautiful. Commissario Michele Balistreri was fearless. Italy was victorious.

A killer was waiting . . .

On July 9, 2006, with Sordi's case twenty-four years cold, and Balistreri haunted by guilt and regret, Italian victory returned. And so did Sordi's killer . . .

But this time Michele Balistreri would be ready. This time he would fear no evil.

Grand Central Pub
Winner of the Scerbanenco Prize for the best Italian crime thriller, The Deliverance of Evil is a masterful psychological thriller about an edgy policeman's personal evolution--or devolution--as seen through the lens of a devilish case that consumed him early in his career and continues to haunt him twenty-four years later.

With excitement over Berlusconi rise to power and Italy in a state of gleeful and frenzied anticipation over the national soccer team's improbable run to the 1982 World Cup, Italians are filled with hopeful feelings. The night before the big match, Elisa Sordi--an attractive eighteen year-old employed by the Vatican--vanishes. The case falls to a young, hedonistic post-Fascist officer named Michele Balistreri. Headstrong and ambivalent about spending his life as a policeman, Balistreri is annoyed to be interrupted during the festivities and takes the case lightly. But when Elisa's tortured corpse surfaces in the Tiber, Balistreri doubts he will ever be able to forgive himself for his inattention. After the man he arrested for the murder is exonerated, and tantalizing links to the Vatican and top right-wing politicians ignored, the case is never solved. Despondent, Michele spirals into drinking and depression.

Twenty-four years later Italy is victorious once again in the World Cup, but the nation has changed. The balloon of optimism from the Eighties has deflated, and the now-gloomy nation suffers under the arrogant and corrupt Berlusconi government. A weak economy and chaotic immigration policies that have inflamed racist sentiments provide a stark contrast to the last time Italy tasted sweet soccer victory. Disturbingly, more lax divorce laws have spawned a trend of "revenge" violence against women who try to assert their independence.

Suddenly Sordi's mother apparently commits suicide, and then a slew of female corpses begin to turn up all with a letter of the alphabet carved into their bodies. The apparent hate behind the murders causes Balistreri to realize that the case that has haunted for twenty-four years may be heating up again, and with a newfound sense of purpose he charges into his work: the opportunity to redeem the darkest part of his past.

The murders continue, and what initially seemed to be the work of a lone psychopath reveals itself to be part of something much bigger and more dangerous. Finally Balistreri realizes that the letters marking each victim are spelling out a chilling message.

Baker & Taylor
Haunted by an unsolved twenty-four-year-old murder case from early in his career, brash Commissario Michele Balistreri is overcome with remorse and renewed determination when the victim's mother commits suicide.

& Taylor

Haunted by a 24-years unsolved murder case from his early career, brash Commissario Michele Balistreri is overcome with remorse and renewed determination when the victim's mother commits suicide, in a first installment in a best-selling trilogy from Italy.

Publisher: New York :, Quercus,, 2014
ISBN: 9781623650025
Characteristics: 552 pages ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Thompson, N. S.


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Feb 03, 2018

In 1982, Michele Balistreri is an angry young police captain who holds bureaucracy, religion and politics in almost as much contempt as he holds himself. Good thing there's plenty of partying, alcohol and willing women to quiet his demons. However, when he mishandles the disappearance and murder of a beautiful young woman he'd had designs on, his life is changed forever. By 2005, he's living on anti-depressants, decaf coffee and rations out both his cigarettes and alcohol (and sex isn't something he wants to allow himself any longer either). He's a walking attempt at penitence with nothing to believe in. A slew of murdered young women gives him the will to do more than exist, but when the murders become too reminiscent of his earlier professional and moral failure, he has to ask himself how much the truth is worth.

The Italy of 1982 is decadent, and you can feel how someone young and with something to prove would find that Italy, with its easy beauty and luxury, frustrating. It was however, filled with promise, even if Balistreri can't recognize it. The Italy of 2006 is just as corrupt but now it's stagnant. If Italy was fighting for its soul in 1982, by 2006 its fights are about power and the big ones are orchestrated. The Italy portrayed here is is decaying from the inside out, and now the foreign faces that fill it aren't tourists but the immigrants it both depends on and scorns. This novel is as much an examination of Italy and the people in it vying for power as it is a mystery/thriller.

I figured out the villain (or is it villains?) and the dominant motivations pretty quickly, but those were the easy questions to answer. How it was done and everyone who was involved- and why- were the bigger mysteries, and watching Balistreri and his team unwind the puzzle was engrossing. Before I was halfway through I was unable to put it down and spent the better part of a day finishing it.

Recommended for fans of international mysteries and thrillers

Mar 29, 2014

Deliverance from Evil is a complicated story with many twists and turns. I highly recommend this book.


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