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The Deliverance of Evil Hardcover – Feb 11 2014

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (Feb. 11 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 162365002X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1623650025
  • Product Dimensions: 16.1 x 4.6 x 23.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 780 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,090,912 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"The Deliverance of Evil is a remarkably dark thriller which starts against the backdrop of Italy winning the World Cup in 1982 and concludes in 2006 just as they are about to be victorious again. A vicious murderer who first struck twenty-four years earlier is waiting to kill again. The author combines the plotting and pace of international crime with the poise and prowess of literary fiction, striating the narrative with topical political insight"―Ali Karim, Shotsmag

"[Constantini] delivers compelling drama... the gripping strength of the novel lies in its passionate portrayal of a corrupt and criminal Italy, from seedy traffickers to the Vatican."―Marcel Berlins, The Times

"[A] tale of personal and political corruption, expediency and revenge engages... Costantini has created a fascinating protagonist, first seen as a thirtysomething womaniser with fascist sympathies, and then as an older, sadder and wiser man, bent on making amends for past mistakes."―Laura Wilson, The Guardian

"[A] commanding debut thriller.... Costantini spins a politically charged, Machiavellian tale of fiendish complexity."―Publishers Weekly

"Utterly compelling"―Peter May, author of The Blackhouse

"The engaging Italian police procedural provides the audience with a fascinating psychological look at how ug...―

"Rich with fascinating political history, filled with brilliant psychological insight, and a nonstop thriller... Bravo!"―Jeffery Deaver, The October List

"Readers can immerse themselves in la dolce vita as Costantini's charismatic detective, Commissario Michele Balistreri, solves a complex mystery centered on the nature of evil.... Costantini tells an engrossing story of corruption and revenge, until near the end, when he kills off all the suspects, leaving little doubt as to the identity of the murderer."―Anna Creer, The Sidney Morning Herald

"In his debut Costantini has proven himself an absolute master."―Antonio D'Orrico, Corriere della Sera

"Crime stories offer a fine vehicle for state-of-the-nation investigations. Italy is more of a challenge than well-ordered Scandinavia, but Roberto Costantini rises to it with ease... sprawling, violent and beset by a tortured morality, this is a compelling vision of modern Italy."―Mail on Sunday

"Completely riveting... This is a take-no-prisoners view of a corrupt society and a guide on what it takes to survive and prosper. The detail of the police procedural is brilliantly managed and, as we get closer to the end, the thriller wattage increases with increasingly desperate police officers chasing their tails as bullets fly and a key person is kidnapped."―David Marshall, San Francisco Book Review

"Completely riveting... This is a take-no-prisoners view of a corrupt society and a guide on what it takes to survive and prosper. The detail of the police procedural is brilliantly managed and, as we get closer to the end, the thriller wattage increases with increasingly desperate police officers chasing their tails as bullets fly and a key person is kidnapped."―San Francisco Book Review

"An intricate and ambitious thriller that tells of our country and our times, of the tensions, madness, and its heartfelt humanity."―Elle (Italy)

"A promising debut... [a] complex crime novel that moves from savage murder to the political and social realities of contemporary Italy."―Kirkus Reviews

"The Deliverance of Evil is one of the most unusual (and successful) recent thrillers."―Antonio Gnoli, La Repubblica

About the Author

Roberto Costantini was born to Italian parents in Libya, where he spent the first eighteen years of his life. He was educated as a mechanical engineer, and also earned an MBA from Stanford University. After a thirty-year career working for American companies in many different countries, he is now a manager of the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome, where he also teaches Leadership and Negotiation in the MBA program. The Deliverance of Evil is his first novel and the first in a planned trilogy, the second of which will focus on Michele Balistreri's adolescence in Libya during the rise of Gaddafi.

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Format: Kindle Edition
At the beginning of "The Deliverance of Evil," by Roberto Costantini, it is 1982 and Italy is in the World Cup finals; excitement in Rome couldn't be higher as a result. Police Captain Michele Balistreri is no exception, and when a pretty young woman goes missing on the night of the final, he is inclined to be dismissive; she probably just went off with a boyfriend that her parents don't know about, after all. Some days later, however, her body is found and Balistreri begins investigating some powerful people who may be involved. His discoveries are intriguing but not conclusive, and the case lingers, unsettled. Fast forward to 2006: Balistreri is now a police superintendent in charge of crimes involving immigration in Rome, who is called upon to investigate the rape and murder of a young student and the disappearance of a young Roma prostitute. Could they be connected? And how might they relate to the never-solved case from 1982? Balistreri must navigate the convoluted political waters of Roman policing and society to find out the truth.... To be honest, I only read about half of this novel before giving it up. It's not that the story was so difficult or the writing was bad; it was that Balistreri is one of the most unlikable lead characters I've ever run across. In the 1982 section, he's a young man filled with arrogance and testosterone; his attitude and behaviour towards women is deplorable and his political leanings (neo-fascist) even more so. In the 2006 section, he's an antacid and anti-depressant devotee, full of pity for himself and rather abhorrently pathetic. I just really really didn't like him, and I decided that life is too short to waste some of it reading a book whose protagonist I can't stand. As a result, I have no idea how the story ends; you'll have to look it up for yourself if you are interested, and I wish you luck.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 70 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Sprawling & over-ambitious crime suspense novel Feb. 10 2014
By S. McGee - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
Many of the factors that other reviewers had noted as problematic for them are ones that don't tend to bother me that much. Length? Whatever. Some of the best novels I've read are 500 pages or more. Gritty, noir-like atmosphere? Sure; I've enjoyed lots of Scandicrime, not to mention Val McDermid. Unlikeable protagonist? Absolutely; bring him/her on. That just introduces a great layer of complexity into the plot.

What I dislike, however, is an author whose plot feels so out of control that I am constantly left bewildered and trying to puzzle things out. Costantini kicks this off with 150 pages revolving around an unsolved 1982 tragedy: the violent murder of young Elisa Sordi, a beautiful woman whom our main character, Roman cop Michele Balistreri, has lusted after and whose murder he fails to solve. Then we lurch forward in time, to 2005/2006, and meet Balistreri (whose tale is now -- inexplicably -- being told in the third person rather than the first person) trying to solve a series of other deaths. We're supposed to believe he feels guilty because he's jaded and exhausted -- but guilty about what? The author never makes this convincing. The number and nature of the crimes and suspects lead us all over the place, so I began feeling just as jaded as the fictional Balistreri, although my aversion to the tale could be directly linked to the lack of focus and uneven pacing. Every time I thought to myself, aha, this latest twist means that somehow these sprawling narratives will be tied up and we'll follow an interesting course to the end, the result was disappointing.

Eventually, I simply became fed up. I finished reading, but nothing in the solution -- which involved a lot of last minute twists that I find neither interesting nor convincing -- made me change my overall view of the book. I think you'd have to have a LOT of tolerance for implausible plot twists, and considerable patience as Balistreti agonizes over this, that and the other (can't really elucidate without offering up spoilers) to really enjoy the book. The author introduces characters at the drop of a hat, while others vanish from the narrative completely, even when they seem to be developing personal relationships with Balistreti's team.

Apparently, this is the first volume of a trilogy. If I do pick up a subsequent volume, it will be out of curiosity at the library; I don't want to be in a position where I have to read through another long and tedious crime novel (the latter adjective SHOULD be an oxymoron) simply because I have to review it. 2.5 stars, rounded up only because somewhere at the heart of this tome is an intriguing 350-page mystery just itching to get out.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
An exciting and thought-provoking crime novel! April 29 2013
By Cara - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
640 pages read in 2 days straight. I couldn't put this book down, I forgot how to breathe while turning the pages, I had to re-read some paragraphs because I couldn't believe it was the first time when I was reading a thriller and it was impossible for me to figure out who the killer was. I couldn't guess until the very last pages. "The Deliverance of Evil" was exciting, intriguing, frustrating and downright amazing! It is by far the best crime novel I've read.

Michele Balistreri is a character you might dislike in the first part of the novel, when he is a young and rebellious commissario who doesn't care much about justice, and thinks of his job as a way of passing the time until he decides what he truly wants to do with his life. The way he treats his job and the women he meets is revolting, but everything changes when the tortured dead body of the beautiful Elisa Sordi is found, and Michele makes the mistake of arresting the wrong person. This happens in 1982. 24 years later he is still haunted by this terrible mistake, and when two other girls are murdered in a similar manner, he vows that he won't let the killer escape him this time. He soon understands that what he is dealing with is much greater than what he expected: there might be personal motives behind the crimes, but there might also be a master plan of turning the entire Italy against the Roma people and the Romanians. Who would benefit from the rage and chaos provoked amongst the Italians? Why are the Secret Services involved? And what is the connection between the new murders and Elisa Sordi's unsolved case?

Roberto Costantini is a real master when it comes to character development and building up the suspense. He created an almost unsolvable puzzle in which every character's action and every small detail matters. There are so many people involved in this mystery, and there are so many leads, that the only thing the reader can do is give up trying to solve the case before Michele and his team, and devour the pages as fast as humanly possible. This is exactly what I did at some point, but I have to admit that in the final part of the novel I was stubborn enough to stop at every page and try to make sense of all the clues. It didn't work. Most of those involved in Elisa Sordi's case in 1982 were perfect suspects. There are secrets that are gradually revealed, details that Michele oversaw at first, and so many twists and turns that at some point it's difficult to keep up with everything.

"The Deliverance of Evil" is an incredible thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. Aside from the fast-paced action and the masterfully built plot, the novel also touches on some important issues. Michele is a rational man who does not believe in God's justice. As one who read Nietzsche in his youth, he only believes in himself and his own capacity of making justice and deciding who is innocent and who must pay for their deeds according to his own cold, calculated logic. In truth, he is the one in search for redemption. Because he doesn't believe in the power of confession, the only way to atone for his immoral life is to avenge the death of the innocent victims, and save the last one. Eventually, "The Deliverance of Evil" is a book that emphasizes how prejudices and racism can lead to wrong decisions, and cause more rage and hatred. People's opinions can be easily manipulated by those who have higher interests, so, maybe, we should take some time once in a while to ask ourselves if the ideas we have about a certain matter, certain people, or certain nationalities truly belong to us, or were adopted from the outside.

Roberto Costantini's book will not only take you on a wild ride of mystery, intrigue and conspiracy, but will also raise some thought-provoking questions.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Ruthless murderer? What this book needed was a ruthless editor! July 5 2013
By Sue Kichenside - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This protracted police procedural is bookended by Italy's two World Cup wins - a neat idea on which the author, rather maddeningly, fails to capitalise. The book opens with the first cup win in 1982 when we are introduced to Balistreri, a good-looking hard-ass cop who's into smoking, drinking, poker and sex. A neo-Fascist in his troubled youth, Balistreri isn't the most likeable of characters. When a beautiful young woman (is there any other kind in these books?) goes missing, the brash Balistreri fails to take the case seriously - until the girl turns up dead.

We then flash forward 24 years to Italy's second win. Now weary with age and guilt, Balistreri has mellowed into an altogether different man. Further murders of women are being committed and he is convinced they are all linked. The narrative then drones on relentlessly with a skein of ridiculously far-fetched plot complications and pseudo-political digressions. Unfortunately, Balistreri lacks the charm of a Montalbano to carry this off and I found myself skipping lines, then paragraphs and then whole pages. When I reached the end, it felt like deliverance indeed.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
I loved it! If you are a Mystery/Thriller fan, be sure to give it a try... May 24 2013
By b00k r3vi3ws - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book begins in 1982 when the protagonist, Michele Balistreri, was young, fearless and a bit careless. Few days after he meets Elisa Sordi for the first time, on the eve of football world cup finals, she goes missing. Her body turns up after sometime and it is very clear that she had been tortured. Her bruised dead body changes something within Michele. However, he ends up arresting the wrong person for her murder case. But that was all in the past for Michele, still haunting him, till a new case comes into life in 2006. Two more girls have been murdered in way that is just too similar to Elisa Sordi's Case. Now Michele is more experienced and matured and he vows to find the killer at any cost!

After reading this book, I am ashamed to admit that I hadn't heard of this author before Book Depository offered me an ARC for Review purpose. Shame really, to have not known about such an amazing author.

It took me sometime to really get into the book because Michele Balistreri is a difficult character to like. His mentality and attitude towards the beginning was practically revolting. He came across as this careless and haughty young man whose attitude toward his work and towards women in general made me want smack him on the head till he had some new perspective. Ironically, it was the death of a woman that started to bring in the change in him. By the time we get reacquainted to Michele in 2006, he has matured a lot making it easier to like him.

The plot is amazing. A murder in 1982 is connected to murders in 2006 - both sets happen around the time when Italy won the football world cup. The similarities are undeniable and Michele conscience has been killing him for arresting the wrong person the first time round. But then there's more to it than meets the eye in this case. A conspiracy that can rock the people of his nation and also enter the Secret Services to rock the already rocky boat!

The author has a great style of writing and character build up. As a reader I had a great time with the love-hate relationship with Michele. It was like I was in the book - living it. Of course some credit also goes to the translator N.S.Thompson for his exemplary work and input. I in turn suspected each character while I kept turning the pages.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Complex, weird, lethargic and overlong Dec 24 2013
By Peter G. Keen - Published on
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product
This is by far the most complex plot I can recall in a mystery. It takes up more than 500 pages of pretty flowing and well-written prose (I can't tell how accurate the translation from the Italian is, but the English narrative is lucid and precise.)

The story has everything you can dream up in a noir novel - ennui and despair, sadism and disfigurement, corruption and power abuse, drugs, sex, hidden villains -- it;s all there. But it doesn't hang together. The characters have to spend too much time explaining themselves and even at the end the muddled and unconvincing plot has yet more twists that have to be justified by talk. The hero policeman is in the middle of everything -- the relationships, incidents, major and minor characters and events spanning decades. At the start of the story, he is a callous and amoral sex maniac -- as he explains. Twenty years on, he is a disillusioned and sad abstainer from vices -- as he explains. The plot relies on details of events, who was in on the rape and what time potential villain A leaves where, and the cigarette lighter and who vomited when and why.... and..... The background themes are big in scale and scope -- at the core is the Roma immigrant community and Italian racism, plus the Church's corrupt hold on politics and the still ongoing cabals of fascism. It's a brutal story built on themes of massive sexual violence against women. Many of the characters are, naturally, not what they seem -- as is explained when the time comes, including right at the end, to twist the narrative one more unlikely time. It is too long by a factor of three or more. Any 20 pages or so moves well, but the whole becomes much less than the sum of the parts.

The best parts of the book are sketches of good relationships and women who are not the monsters, misfits and victims that permeate its characters. It often reads well and the plot is intriguing in small segments. But it goes on and on with ends hanging loose, new mystery clues being introduced on the fly.

It wore me down in the end. It was too dense to skip and too elaborate and arcane to stay with. I got through it but it was an effort. I feel an obligation to the Vine program ethos to complete the books I pick out for review. I don't think I would have done so if I had paid for it.