cover image Best Served Cold: A Rick Montoya Italian Mystery

Best Served Cold: A Rick Montoya Italian Mystery

David Wagner. Poisoned Pen, $16.99 trade paper (256p) ISBN 978-1-728271-01-9

Wagner again puts his years as an Italian diplomat to good use in his excellent eighth whodunit (following 2020’s To Die in Tuscany) featuring translator-turned-sleuth Rick Montoya. Montoya, a New Mexico native living in Rome, is hired by the Palermo police to transcribe the interrogation of an organized crime turncoat for the FBI, who are hoping to use it to take down an American mafioso. The assignment coincides with a request from Zeke Campbell, Montoya’s former fraternity brother, who’s become a priest and is leading a religious tour in Italy. When the group’s local guide disappears, Campbell asks Montoya to fill in; before long, the guide turns up dead, and Montoya begins investigating, uncovering evidence that the man was less innocent than he appeared. Wagner juggles plotlines adeptly, and further deepens the relationship between Montoya and his love interest Betta Innocenti, an art fraud investigator. Montoya’s adventures have yet to lose their shine. (Aug.)