- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 26, 2011

“The Fallen Angel” (Delacorte), by David Hewson: An accidental fall leads to a case that stumps detective Nic Costa and his fellow officers of Rome’s Questura in David Hewson’s latest novel, “The Fallen Angel.”

Malise Gabriel falls to his death from his apartment to the street below. By all appearances, the fall seems accidental. Costa is on holiday when he stumbles onto the scene, and his colleagues begin to question the dead man’s family.

Costa cannot help but become involved. He soon sees eerie parallels between Gabriel’s death and a mystery in Rome’s distant past. Centuries earlier, a young woman named Beatrice Cenci murdered her father and confessed under torture to the crime.

Cenci is considered a symbol of resistance against authority, and her ghost supposedly haunts a bridge on the night before the anniversary of her death.

Costa sees similarities between Cenci and Gabriel’s daughter, Mina, and begins to question whether the daughter could have pushed her father to his death. The more he asks, the stranger the evidence becomes.

Hewson has a gift for weaving complex mysteries and thrills into a tight and captivating tale. Just as Michael Connelly reveals the dark underbelly of Los Angeles, Hewson immerses the reader into the city of Rome and shows a side that tourists don’t often see.


Jeff Ayers is the author of “Voyages of Imagination: The Star Trek Fiction Companion” (Pocket Books, 2006).