lost girls

Title: The Lost Girls of Rome

Author: Donato Carrisi

Category: Mystery

Published: November 19, 2013 by Mulholland Books (first published 2011)

Rating: 2½ out of 5 stars

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A grieving young widow, seeking answers to her husband’s death, becomes entangled in an investigation steeped in the darkest mysteries of Rome.

Sandra Vega, a forensic analyst with the Roman police department, mourns deeply for a marriage that ended too soon. A few months ago, in the dead of night, her husband, an up-and-coming journalist, plunged to his death at the top of a high-rise construction site. The police ruled it an accident. Sandra is convinced it was anything but.

Launching her own inquiries, Sandra finds herself on a dangerous trail, working the same case that she is convinced led to her husband’s murder. An investigation which is deeply entwined with a series of disappearances that has swept the city, and brings Sandra ever closer to a centuries-old secret society that will do anything to stay in the shadows.

I wanted to like The Lost Girls of Rome, I really did. The setting is fabulous and the author clearly knows, and loves, Rome. The characters are fascinating and a few are well-developed. But it was just too confusing, there’s too much going on and too many people. And it jumps between now and 5 years ago and yesterday and a year ago.

We’ve got Sandra, above, who is being led almost on a scavenger hunt through Rome to figure out what her now-dead husband had stumbled on. We’ve got a major Vatican secret, a few serial killers, a maybe priest, a maybe Interpol agent, a kidnapped girl, photos. They’re all good ingredients, but when you through them all in the pot you end up with mud soup. I kept reading, hoping that in the end it would be worth it. It wasn’t. The threads pulled together, but not in a way that satisfied me.

Reading other reviews, I have the minority opinion here. Maybe I’m just missing something, or expected more than I got. The writing is good and I felt like it could go somewhere. It could have been outstanding. Instead, it was disappointing.

It seems like I should have more to say about a book that was over 400 pages long, but I was lost most of the time.