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Holt, Jonathan - 'The Abomination'
Hardback: 400 pages (May 2013) Publisher: Head of Zeus ISBN: 1781853665

Set in Venice, this a story of conspiracy, exploitation, murder and abuse of power.

The murder of a young woman found washed up on the steps of a church leads the investigators to a conspiracy involving the smuggling of women from Eastern Europe, who are exploited by the very people whom they have paid to help them to a better life and whose acts are ignored by people in power.

Captain Kat Tapo is assigned to her first major crime under the expertise of the legendary Detective Colonel Aldo Piola. They are both taken by surprise by a mutual attraction. Their investigations lead them to a connection with the local USA army base and newly promoted Second Lieutenant Holly Boland is assigned to liaise with them. Holly finds her own investigation into missing papers of an old series of meetings including the 1990s conflict in the Balkans has links with the murder. Their joint enquiries lead them to the virtual world of Carnivia - an on-line replica of Venice - created by the elusive Daniele Barbo. Daniele is a loner, disfigured from childhood, a brilliant computer programmer who upsets the establishment by refusing to allow security forces access to the database of his virtual world.

THE ABOMINATION is a complicated convoluted story that does feel at times as if there are too many strands are in the air at one time, but it is compelling. The story includes several topical themes such as access to online data and the balance between protection and security, and privacy of ordinary citizens, and the ongoing exploitation of vulnerable people, especially young women, in the lucrative sex industry.

The Abomination of the title is a major running theme through the story and I found that the reveal of this in the story came at the right time for me as the reader so will not spoil it by discussing it here.

This is the first novel in the Carnivia Trilogy. It works as a stand-alone very well but I would like to read the others to see what happens to the main characters, whom I found to be well rounded and interesting.

A good read.

Read another review of THE ABOMINATION.

Susan White, England
July 2013

More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 25/04/2014 15:08