2 out of 4 stars
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The mutilated body of an ex-priest is found in a Chicago neighborhood. The only clue left by the killer is a long-stemmed red rose. Before Detective Dorian can make headway with the case, the body count starts rising. The two common denominators of the victims are a history of covered-up pedophile charges and a life insurance policy, with the Archdiocese of Chicago as the beneficiary. Did the debt-ridden Archdiocese plot the murders to collect the insurance money? Does the secret society of masked men gathering every third Thursday have any connection with the killings? Things get even more complicated as Olivia Laurent, the chief financial officer of the insurance company, becomes romantically involved with Dorian. How will Dorian uncover the truth when everyone he approaches masks some secrets? The answers can be found in A Rose From The Executioner, a police procedural by Edward Izzi.
The narrative switches between Dorian’s perspective and an omniscient viewpoint. The former briefs us about the detective’s progress while the latter gives a bird’s-eye view of the case. I liked the premise where Izzi carefully unravels the inside stories of the Vatican and the Archdiocese of Chicago. Coupled with the presence of an underground society and the mysterious insurance policies, they provide all the elements of a thriller. However, Izzi’s style of revealing several backstories quite early leaves very few twists. Fortunately, he delivers a jarring twist at the end that will take the reader by surprise.
Considering that it is primarily a plot-driven story, detective Dorian’s character is remarkably well-developed. The stress of the unsolved cases and the constant pressure from his superiors make him an anxiety-ridden individual. When Olivia destroys his carefully constructed emotional barrier, his vulnerable side gets exposed. Throughout the novel, Dorian is portrayed not only as a detective but as a real person with flaws.
Through several accounts of pedophilia, Izzi shows how sexual abuse during childhood leaves lasting emotional scars. The most crucial concept he highlights, however, is the severity of the punishments for such heinous crimes. Can capital punishment be described as justice? The novel does not provide a definite answer but keeps the readers pondering.
Despite the merits, the book has many negative aspects. First of all, the chronology of the events is unclear. Although the storyline continuously moves back and forth in time, the timelines are unmarked, leading to frequent confusion. For example, the book starts with a description of the first murder. However, the planning behind it is revealed only after the reader is halfway through the book and is aware of the next two murders as well. Also, Izzi discloses the identity of the killers to his readers quite early. Since the detective is still clueless, we have to wait patiently for him to put two and two together. Besides, the lackadaisical attitude of the detective and repeated mentions of his broad waistline irked me. Even when Detective Dorian does make some deductions, his logic is far from being convincing.
Numerous technical issues present in the book demand another round of editing. Though the theme is likable, the structure of the book and the errors leave much to be desired. Accordingly, I rate this novel 2 out of 4 stars. Readers who enjoy police procedurals will appreciate this book. The grisly murder scenes might be unpalatable for the squeamish readers. Also, the accounts of sexual abuse might trigger emotional disturbances for those having such traumatic experiences in their past. These reasons make the novel unsuitable for young readers as well.
A Rose From The Executioner
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