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August 11, 2013

THE ABOMINATION by Jonathan Holt

THE ABOMINATION                                             4 STARS
Book One of the Carnivia Trilogy
A Novel

by Johnathan Holt


When the clock strikes midnight on the feast day of La Befana, Venice is aglow as a cascade of glittering fireworks bursts above the city. Masked figures crowd the vaporettos, the trattorias are humming with grappa-soaked gossip, and the possibility for random passion heats the frosty winter air.

Across the Grand Canal, beneath the stunning white dome of one of Venice's grandest landmarks, Santa Maria della Salute, a body with two slugs in the back of the head has been pulled from the icy waters. The victim is a woman. To the dismay of the police, she is dressed in the sacred robes of a Catholic priest--a desecration known as the Abomination.

Working her first murder case, newly promoted Captain Kat Tapo of the Carabinieri embarks on a labyrinthine trail that soon proves as elusive and confusing as the city's twisting backstreets. Her investigation leads from a crumbling asylum on a deserted island to the impenetrable complex of American military bases ringing the medieval city--and deeper, into an eerie virtual Venice that is both alien and familiar.

The influential and highly secretive simulated world of holds the city's secrets, dark knowledge that reaches into the highest levels of government and the church, involving its most influential figures. The site's founder is a notorious hacker and the scion of one of Venice's oldest families--a man already convicted of cybercrimes whose life is threatened by an anonymous group determined to silence him and destroy his virtual city.

Just when every lead seems to send a frustrated Kat in a new direction, the various trails go cold, evidence goes missing, and the case is officially shut down. What follows is the unraveling of a dark conspiracy whose roots go back seventy years, revelations that will test Kat's loyalties and remind the dedicated cop of a simple truth: that unless old crimes are punished, corrupt forces will continue to repeat their mortal sins. .

This book begins with a very difficult situation, death.  This death is a very unpleasant one. The story takes place in Venice. A woman has been found dead and the strange thing is she is wearing the vestments of a Roman Catholic priest. She has tattoos on her body and marks at the scene may have something to do with the occult. She is found on an island that is known for its evil and the spirits that haunt it. The view of many conservative Catholics is that this is an abomination. There is a second murder that appears to be related. It is at a hotel room that the two victims shared.  

Captain Kat Tapo of the Carabinieri (military police) and superior officer Detective Colonel Aldo Piola are investigating this awful crime.   The mystery involves the CIA, the military, the government and the Roman Catholic Church.  There's more.  Secrets that have been hidden for many years. Kat's investigation is stalled at every turn she takes. THE ABOMINATION has three story lines that make you wonder how they will weave themselves together.

The investigation has a lot of twists and turns with more murders, false tips and cover ups.  The relationship between Americans and Venetians add to the reality of the story.

 I found I couldn't put the book down. Some of the topics I found were: women  in Croatia, women in Italian society and the church. The book has a mixture of murder, betrayal, politics and violence. The author brings out some of the roles women have in society, especially underworld society. The author's description of Venice was so authentic. There is a beauty in Venice but there is also a dark side with much evil lurking in the corners. The author has an unique way of making you wonder if you understand the characters just when you thought you had them figured out. The violence on women is a very important topic and I'm glad the author delved into it.  Often times, it is over looked.  the book did move a little slow in places but overall it was an interesting, educational novel. I found much of the book was very believable. The author leaves you with questions about how the conspiracy is to be taken apart.  That in turn, leaves you wanting that next novel to find out more.Your attention never wavers. The author keeps you turning the pages trying to figure out more. I would suggest this book to anyone.who loves mysteries. 

I would give this book 4 STARS.

I was given a complimentary copy of the book, THE ABOMINATION from the author, Jonathan Holt, for this unbiased review.

Jonathan Holt studied English Literature at Oxford, and is now the creative director of an advertising agency. He lives in London.

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