cover image The Paradiso Files: Boston’s Unknown Serial Killer

The Paradiso Files: Boston’s Unknown Serial Killer

Timothy M. Burke, . . Steerforth, $24.95 (346pp) ISBN 978-1-58642-140-3

Former homicide prosecutor Burke is a better lawyer than writer in this account of his quest to bring to justice Leonard Paradiso, a brutal thug he suspected was responsible for a series of Boston-area murders in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1982 Burke was investigating a triple homicide when a young woman, learning of his commitment to solving the case, called to ask for his help with the dead-end pursuit of the murderer of her sister, Marie Iannuzzi, in a neighboring county. Burke brushed aside potential jurisdictional challenges and, with the aid of State Trooper Andrew Palombo, went full steam ahead to lay the Iannuzzi murder at the door of Paradiso, uncovering evidence along the way that his suspect might also have killed missing Harvard graduate student Joan Webster, among others. The narrative details the investigation’s setbacks and successes, culminating in Paradiso’s 1984 trial for the Iannuzzi murder. While the author was clearly a tenacious investigator and advocate, the heavy-handed writing style and dramatized presentation of the facts (including the author’s referring to himself in the third person) get in the way of the story. (Feb. 19)