640 pages read in 2 days straight. I couldn’t put this book down, I forgot how to breathe while turning the pages, I had to re-read some paragraphs because I couldn’t believe it was the first time when I was reading a thriller and it was impossible for me to figure out who the killer was. I couldn’t guess until the very last pages. “The Deliverance of Evil” was exciting, intriguing, frustrating and downright amazing! It is by far the best crime novel I’ve read.
Michele Balistreri is a character you might dislike in the first part of the novel, when he is a young and rebellious commissario who doesn’t care much about justice, and thinks of his job as a way of passing the time until he decides what he truly wants to do with his life. The way he treats his job and the women he meets is revolting, but everything changes when the tortured dead body of the beautiful Elisa Sordi is found, and Michele makes the mistake of arresting the wrong person. This happens in 1982. 24 years later he is still haunted by this terrible mistake, and when two other girls are murdered in a similar manner, he vows that he won’t let the killer escape him this time. He soon understands that what he is dealing with is much greater than what he expected: there might be personal motives behind the crimes, but there might also be a master plan of turning the entire Italy against the Roma people and the Romanians. Who would benefit from the rage and chaos provoked amongst the Italians? Why are the Secret Services involved? And what is the connection between the new murders and Elisa Sordi’s unsolved case?
Roberto Costantini is a real master when it comes to character development and building up the suspense. He created an almost unsolvable puzzle in which every character’s action and every small detail matters. There are so many people involved in this mystery, and there are so many leads, that the only thing the reader can do is give up trying to solve the case before Michele and his team, and devour the pages as fast as humanly possible. This is exactly what I did at some point, but I have to admit that in the final part of the novel I was stubborn enough to stop at every page and try to make sense of all the clues. It didn’t work. Most of those involved in Elisa Sordi’s case in 1982 were perfect suspects. There are secrets that are gradually revealed, details that Michele oversaw at first, and so many twists and turns that at some point it’s difficult to keep up with everything.
“The Deliverance of Evil” is an incredible thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat. Aside from the fast-paced action and the masterfully built plot, the novel also touches on some important issues. Michele is a rational man who does not believe in God’s justice. As one who read Nietzsche in his youth, he only believes in himself and his own capacity of making justice and deciding who is innocent and who must pay for their deeds according to his own cold, calculated logic. In truth, he is the one in search for redemption. Because he doesn’t believe in the power of confession, the only way to atone for his immoral life is to avenge the death of the innocent victims, and save the last one. Eventually, “The Deliverance of Evil” is a book that emphasizes how prejudices and racism can lead to wrong decisions, and cause more rage and hatred. People’s opinions can be easily manipulated by those who have higher interests, so, maybe, we should take some time once in a while to ask ourselves if the ideas we have about a certain matter, certain people, or certain nationalities truly belong to us, or were adopted from the outside.
Roberto Costantini’s book will not only take you on a wild ride of mystery, intrigue and conspiracy, but will also raise some thought-provoking questions.