Sandra Vega is a forensic photographer working with the Milan police department. Her husband, David, recently died. She was told that it was an accident, but she knows that it was probably something more sinister. The voicemail that she was left shortly before he died said he was calling her from Oslo, but he fell to his death in Rome. She launches her own investigation and ends up tangled up in something much deeper and much more evil than she could have imagined.
In Rome, women have been disappearing. Sandra finds that the investigation into the death of her husband is somehow entwined in the investigation into the disappearances. As she follows the clues, she’s finding herself being followed and shadowed. She finds herself in the middle of something far bigger than this one case, this one investigation. She begins to see what her husband was investigating and it points to a secret that the Vatican wants to keep quiet.
The plot originally drew me in, it sounded interesting. A secret sect within the Catholic Church that takes stock of all the confessions of mortal sins and learns about evil and darkness. But somewhere along they way they stopped being protectors and researchers and started to become avenging angels. Giving the families of those who were touched by evil the ammunition they would need to avenge the evil done to their loved ones. Some took the chance and had their revenge. Others took a different path and showed compassion. But these avenging angels were playing by their own set of rules and some have seemed to become the evil they were supposed to protect us from.
There were so many threads and facets that the story quickly became mired and bogged down. Even at the end, after the “surprise twist” was revealed, there was still a sense of incompleteness. There was much that was left up to the imagination of the reader because there was no explanation and no further information given about some key characters and plot points. I don’t know if this was a way to open the door for a sequel or what. I was not impressed with the ending and leaving so many things left unexplained. I also think that the flipping from past to present was more confusing than it was helpful.
I couldn’t connect with any of the characters and I think that’s why I ultimately didn’t really enjoy this book. I couldn’t empathize with any of them and for me, they really weren’t that interesting. I had a very hard time staying interested in this book and seeing it through to the end. It wasn’t for the lack of writing skill. The author really does write some really beautiful prose. If as much effort went into character development as went into some of the descriptions and narrative passages, this could have been a 4 star book at least.
This wasn’t the book for me. But if you’re interested in a secret sect that pursues evil in the interest of doing a greater good for humanity, give it a try.