cover image The Deliverance of Evil

The Deliverance of Evil

Roberto Costantini, trans. from the Italian by N.S. Thompson. Quercus, $26.95 (576p) ISBN 978-1-62365-002-5

On the eve of Italy’s 1982 World Cup victory—the first of two national triumphs 24 years apart that bookend this commanding debut thriller, the first of a trilogy—Roman police commissario Michele Balistreri refuses to let the disappearance of ravishing 18-year-old Elisa Sordi, one of his best friend’s colleagues, derail plans for a night of drunken revelry. Days later, the discovery of Elisa’s tortured body on the banks of the Tiber will be but the start of a string of murders that, decades later, will endanger some of those closest to him—as well as the stability of the Italian government itself. Costantini spins a politically charged, Machiavellian tale of fiendish complexity that is longer and knottier than necessary. But the book’s underlying psychology—which, in an effort to explain the genesis of the kind of monstrous evil at the story’s heart, veers disturbingly close to blaming the victim—will likely be more problematic for some readers. Announced first printing of 150,000. (Feb.)