Review: Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri

9781471170409An action-packed, cinematic thriller; an assured start to the Caselli and Torre series.

Much to my chagrin, Sandrone Dazieri’s Kill the Father was the surprise crime fiction hit at the shop over Christmas. Which isn’t to disrespect this first book in the Caselli and Torre series, or its author; just that, there I was, during the Christmas peak, pushing the crime books and thrillers I’d actually read, and there was Kill the Father, with its astounding cover, blowing everything else away. Customers departed for their summer vacations with the book in their possession, then returned, waxing lyrically about how much they enjoyed it, using the expression I’ve turned into my personal catchphrase: “the pages turned themselves.” With that kind of buzz, there was no way I could ignore the book and leave it unread on my teetering stack. With its sequel just published, I reached for Kill the Father over the weekend and dived into what I’m sure will be one of the most action-packed and cinematic thrillers I read this year.

Kill the Father fuses the police procedural elements of a Michael Connelly novel with the blockbuster action and pace of a Matthew Reilly thriller. Set against the backdrop of Rome, it pits two enigmatic and damaged investigators against a sinister villain known as ‘The Father’, who has been on the loose for more than three decades, kidnapping children for unfathomable reasons. Dante Torre — an early victim of The Father — and police detective Colomba Caselli hardly seem a dynamic duo capable of locating this psychopath and ending his reign of terror, and they very quickly find themselves a target not just of the derranged killer, but of the authorities, too, as things spiral wildly out of control. Add into the mix a touch of Moonlighting about their relationship — a will they / won’t they tension  — and there’s plenty of thrust to the narrative. Indeed, the plot builds to a satisfying conclusion, Dazieri adding a final twist that’ll leave readers salivating for the sequel, Kill the Angel.

So, Kill the Father is a damn fine thriller, executed with aplomb, but to some extent I felt like it followed the established How to Write a Successful Thriller blueprint; it hits all the right notes, pitch perfectly, but lacks the soul, or the spark, to push it into the highest echelon. This might seem like a cruel critique, particularly since I, truly and whole wholeheartedly, recommend the book to connoisseurs of the genre; but although I applaud its execution and its craft, it feels archetypal in almost every respect. It races along at a great clip, and the action is great, and the whole thing is laced with suspsense; but there are no genuine surprises; nothing to rattle readers. Even so, I’m looking forward to Kill the Angel; with the characters now established, Dazieri is free to go nuts with his plot and concoct something truly genre-defining; potentially genre-defying. He clearly has the chops to craft something magnificent.

ISBN: 9781471170409
Format: Paperback
Imprint: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd
Publish Date: 1-Feb-2018
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

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