A Season for the Dead


David Hewson


Mystery / Thriller


Date Reviewed:

March 27, 2011

don't remember why I picked up A Season for the Dead, but it wasn't a lucky happenstance of picking an intriguing book off of the shelves at the library. I know I was specifically looking for this book because it was the first of the Nic Costa mysteries (apparently there are eight more novels in the series - at least at the time of this review.) I often read more than one book at time - I read most every night before going to sleep. I will pick up which ever book interests me most. Once I started A Season for the Dead, I picked it up every time to continue reading. The story is suspenseful, and the enough action happens to keep the pages turning.

Now that I have finished the book, and thought a little bit about the story, I realize that there are some details that were not explained to my satisfaction. For example - what was the point of the rhyme:

As I was going to St Ives

I met a man with seven wives.

Every wife had seven sacks,

Every sack had seven cats,

Every cat had seven kits.

Kits, cats, sacks and wives,

How many were going to St Ives

I went back to several sections of the book where this was mentioned, but if the explanation is there, then I still missed it.

Once the mystery is solved, think back to the behavior of Stefano Rinaldi, the man who carries the skin into the Vatican Reading Room at the very start of the novel. What was he doing? No matter how scared he is, his actions make no sense. The business about the Vatican security cameras seems very important at first, but then gets discarded.

When Jay Gallo gets picked up the car with Vatican license plates, who is driving the car? Obviously an accomplice, but he never surfaces again.

Early on we are introduced to Neri, Crespi and Aitcheson - three shady individuals who have dealings with Cardinal Denney. But they disappear and never are seen again. Hanrahan may have been a schemer, but how come we never meet anyone else from inside the Vatican? Why isn't there SOMEONE interested in putting a stop to all the bizarre killings or at least cooperate with the Roman police? Hanrahan may be in the Vatican, but he didn't strike me as a figure of influence, he certainly didn't speak for the Vatican.

How could Sara Faranese escape a police security team simply by riding in a car driven by Bea? How could anyone escape from the church San Luigi dei Francesi on Piazza Navona? As the police escort says to Cardinal Denney: "Only one way in, only one way out." The police seem remarkably incompetent.

Frankly, I didn't find it the actions of Sara Faranese or Guido Fosse credible once we discover what motivates them.

Despite these questions, the book is a good read. It has a lot of momentum, I should probably read the next book in this series.