The American by Nadia Dalbuono (Leone Scamarcio #2), Review

Nadia Dalbuono’s The American is an intriguing crime puzzle, international adventure thriller and a moving human drama.

The American - Nadia Dalbuono - Book ReviewThe American Synopsis:

The second Leone Scamarcio thriller.

As autumn sets in, the queues outside the soup kitchens of Rome are lengthening, and the people are taking to the piazzas, increasingly frustrated by the deepening economic crisis.

Detective Leone Scamarcio is called to an apparent suicide on the Ponte Sant’Angelo, a stone’s throw from Vatican City. A man is hanging from the bridge, his expensive suit suggesting yet another businessman fallen on hard times. But Scamarcio is immediately troubled by similarities with the 1982 murder of Roberto Calvi, dubbed ‘God’s Banker’ because of his work for the Vatican Bank.

Scamarcio’s instincts are soon proved correct when a cardinal with links to the bank is killed. And when US Intelligence warn Scamarcio to drop his investigation, he knows that the stakes are far higher than he first realised.

Ignoring their threats, Scamarcio pushes on, but his progress is being monitored by some of the world’s most powerful men, who will stop at nothing to make sure their dirty work stays under cover. In breathtaking developments that link 9/11, America’s dirty wars, Vatican corruption, the Mafia, and Italy’s violence against its own people, Scamarcio has to deal with responsibilities far above his pay grade.

(Scribe Publications)

Genre: Thriller, Crime-Detective, Mystery, Drama

One of our Top 10 International Reads of 2016

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I’d not read Nadia Dalbuono’s debut thriller The Few but have just been swept away by her latest instalment in the Leone Scamarcio Thriller Series, The American.

What first particularly attracted me to this novel was the mystery’s complexity evident just from the publisher synopsis. Even so, I’d still underestimated both the intricacy and sheer scale of the web of lies and deceit Dalbuono orchestrates in The American.

I’ll admit to at first feeling a little overwhelmed trying to fully understand the myriad players and nature of their alliances. But it was well worth the initial concentration because it wasn’t long before everything just seemed to click. From that point on, this book rarely left my side!

This story’s many settings come alive in Dalbuono’s hands – so atmospheric, the ghosts of those who had gone there before lurking in the shadows. Her characters, and the emotions they display, are gritty and realistic. The world they (and we all) live in is not a fairytale where right and wrong is as black and white as we’d often like it to be. This novel is a compelling exploration of this theme.

Impressive also is the extent to which Dalbuono blurs the line between historical fact and fiction. It certainly broadened my thinking on a few matters.

The American is an intriguing crime puzzle, international adventure thriller and a moving human drama. Highly recommended.

I look forward to reading more from this talented author.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4.5 / 5  —  Overall 4.25

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About the Author, Nadia Dalbuono

Nadia Dalbuono was educated at Queen’s College, Oxford, where she read history and German. For the last sixteen years, she has worked as a documentary director and consultant for Channel 4, ITV, Discovery, and National Geographic. The American is the sequel to her first novel, The FewFind out more at Nadia’s website or connect with her on Twitter.

UPDATE: Three further titles in the Leone Scamarcio Thriller Series have since been published – The Hit (#3), The Extremist (#4) and The Devil (#5).

* My receiving a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes did not impact the expression of my honest opinions in the review above.