It's a slow simmering thriller from Mr. Seymour that has a powerful blast at the end! You are gripped by the variety of characters that are introduced and by the vivid depiction of Sicily and Palermo. It seems, after reading other mafia books from Mr. Seymour, that he certainly likes to write big fat books about them. This one, the "Killing Ground", "The Collaborator" and his other one, "The Untouchable" are almost all 500 to 600 pages long. But, I don't mind reading them! They are awesome! This one is an excellent story about the Sicily "La Costra Mafia" with a cast of characters, a great depiction of the city of Palermo and it's the countryside, coastline, some great mafia history and even Mondello beach gets a mention. You feel as though you're walking with the crowds of tourists that come to see the sights knowing that somewhere not to far the LA Costra are there too. But the more you read the story, the more it feels like as though, somehow, you are allowed to move from the crowds of onlookers and tourists and peer over the shoulder of Charlie to see how they, the mafia, live and spend each day. You begin to see the sad and depressing Angela who stays in bed a lot and takes pills and tablets to get her through the day. Then, there are the children who don't really know yet what their father, their uncle and their 'family' as whole do for a living. Then there's Mario, Salvatore, Peppino and a few others that form the inner sanctum of 'The Family'. They are the killers. They butcher and they are brutal, especially Mario, the godfather. For example, his preferred way to kill people was to simply strangle his victims with his bare hands because it is less messy and it leaves less evidence for the Direzione Investigativa Anti~Mafia to find.
While, on the other side of the fence, there are the Carabiniere (the Italian drug enforcement agency) that have the troubled and below par Pasquale, Axel Moen the pony tailed American, Giancarlo from surveillance, Benetto or Benny to his friends and also the good judge, Dr. Tardelli just to fly a few names around. If that's not enough, then there is Det. Serg. Harry Crompton from the NCIS gets involved and there is a journalist who somehow has no idea who the mafia are or where to find them. To cap it all off, with all that going on, there's the usual banter between the intelligence agencies too. So, it's with little wonder that the book is just a smidge under 500 pages.
Mr. Seymour, however, doesn't get bogged down in so much detail that he loses the plot line, no sir. As an accomplished writer, he gets about halfway through the book and moves on from story detail to story line and then slowly builds up the tension. By the end of the story, you wonder what will happen to Charlie because 'they' know and people start to go missing. She goes literally from the home of the 'vipers' so to speak, into the 'viper pit'. I can't say and won't say anymore than that, but I must admit that you'll have makeup your own mind about the ending. It wasn't what I was expecting and I can't say that I agree with it very much. But, that said and done, it was a real pleasure reading this story from Mr. Seymour! I bought this copy in Australia at a whopping $23.00! Oh well, the price was quite a lot, but it was well worth it. I loved this story! Five Stars!