cover image The Root of All Evil

The Root of All Evil

Roberto Costantini, trans. from the Italian by N.S. Thompson. Quercus, $26.99 (624p) ISBN 978-1-62365-881-6

For decades, Michele Balistreri, the volatile veteran detective now heading Rome's homicide squad, has avoided investigating the only murder that really matters to him: his mother's. But the day of reckoning for what befell Italia Balistreri%E2%80%94on a windswept Libyan clifftop hours before the August 1969 coup that installed Muammar Al Gaddafi as the country's dictator%E2%80%94can no longer be dodged in Costantini's suspenseful, at times savage, thriller, the second in his ambitious, politically steeped Evil trilogy (after 2014's The Deliverance of Evil). Investigative journalist Linda Nardi, one of the few individuals Michele cares about, has been digging into a high-stakes fiscal scandal potentially involving several people he has spent a lifetime trying to forget%E2%80%94including his Sicilian industrialist father, Salvatore. Costantini takes his time skillfully planting the twisty, deep-lying roots of his narrative back in Libya, where young "Mike" Balistreri learns about love, brotherhood, and betrayal as well as his own darker side. He grows up with best friend Ahmed Al Bakri, the older son of his father's Libyan right-hand man, and lovely Laura Hunt, the daughter of an American CIA operative. Forty years later, with key figures from this past occupying crucial roles in global politics and business, some long-buried secrets start to explode with deadly consequences%E2%80%94and Linda could be the next victim. Elegant prose and a diabolical plot (including some devilish misdirection) should captivate even readers new to the Balistreri chronicles. (Jan.)