Publisher – W&N/Orion (12 July 2018)
Available in ebook and paperback
My thanks to Alex of W&N for the offer of a review copy and for the invite to the tour. I’m delighted to be starting off the blog tour. The other blogs taking part are shown below.
I had already bought this for my Kindle – that Rome connection was irresistible and I look forward to reading it. In the meantime I have an extract of chapter 1 to tempt you!
| About the Book |
Welcome to the dark side of the dolce vita
In the hot, shadowy streets of Rome, Vicki Wilson’s lovers keep turning up dead.
Vittoria, as she’s known in Italy, is a small-time actress who left behind a dark past in her native Texas and followed her fading writer husband to the Eternal City.
Guided by her controlling, obsessive brother Johnny, Vittoria soon enters the upper circles of Roman society, becoming a paparazzi darling and mingling with shady cardinals and corrupt senators. Among them is Paolo Orsini, who quickly falls prey to Vittoria’s charms. Too bad he’s married; too bad his wife, an aging film icon, is murdered.
From the ravishing beauty of Rome – a city of dark secrets held within the frescoed walls of glamorous palazzos – to the pristine beaches of Malibu and the dangerous alleys of a mysterious South American city, Vittoria finds herself at the heart of a lethal chase, spiralling dangerously out of control…
Winner of the Hammett Prize for Best Crime Fiction
THERE’S BEEN ANOTHER MURDER, this one in Los Angeles, in the sand under the Palisades. Both of my husbands are dead. I am young to have been married twice, let alone widowed.
Others are dead, too—a woman I admired; a boy.
I have taken refuge in a distant city, in a second-story flat off the Avenida. It’s an older neighbourhood, where the once stolid houses now smell of decay. The front gate is iron, the windows barred. At the end of the Avenida the shanties start up, sprawling over the canyons and railroad gullies onto the pampas. Before
this, I lived a different kind of life. There were stories.
I do my best to stay out of sight . . . to remain anonymous . . . but I get weary sometimes . . . reckless . . . I wander onto the balcony in my nightgown, foolish, a little bit drunk. A car door slams.
I hear a man out in the street. He speaks in Spanish, “puta”— hissing in my direction, I think, but no, a woman staggers alongside him, a girlfriend or wife, a mistress, someone used to his insults.
They muck along the dark avenue, insulting each other, then embrace in a dark cranny.
I envy them, even though it’s embraces like that which have gotten me in so much trouble.
I tell myself I am safe in this sprawling city, that I have escaped— but only a few days ago a woman recognized me, I fear, a cashier who studies the gossip sites.
This has happened before. I let my guard down in the way I walk or dress. I remove my glasses while examining a necklace in a window or a menu at a café—
and some clerk, some passerby, a couple two tables over, their eyes spark with recognition.
There is no such thing as a secret life.
Not for me. Blink and I am captured. Whereabouts known.
With the cameras not far behind. And others. Who wish me greater harm.
Background to the story:
Stansberry was intrigued by the real-life figure of Vittoria Accoramboni, a Renaissance ingénue from fading nobility, and this is where he found his inspiration for the book. Vittoria was at the centre of an infamous love triangle, involving figures from the Medici and the papal families. The affair ended in a bloody fashion, and her story was retold and fictionalized by John Webster in a Jacobean revenge tragedy of the same name. Whilst the book is based upon Webster’s play and the real-life figure of Vittoria, Stansberry has moved the story to a contemporary setting, and was also inspired by the Amanda Knox murder case.
| Author Bio |
Domenic Stansberry is the Edgar Award-winning author of ten novels and a collection of stories. His North Beach Mystery series has won wide praise for its portrayal of the ethnic and political subcultures of San Francisco. Books from that series include The Ancient Rain named one of the best crime novels of the last decade by Booklist. An earlier novel, The Confession, received the Edgar Allan Poe Award for its controversial portrait of a Marin County psychologist accused of murdering his mistress. The White Devil was the winner of the 2016 Hammett Prize for best crime fiction. Stansberry grew up in the San Francisco area and currently lives with his wife, the poet Gillian Conoley, and their daughter Gillis in a small town north of that city.