“Bizarre and beautiful, disturbing and droll, The Temptation of St. Tony wonders what it means to be a good man. Kicking off with a quotation from Dante’s Inferno, this delirious sophomore feature from the Estonian filmmaker Veiko Ounpuu observes Tony (Taavi Eelmaa), a triumphantly depressed middle manager. Dissatisfied with his adulterous wife and a boss who orders him to sack all his factory workers, Tony descends into a midlife crisis that manifests itself as a series of increasingly hilarious, horrific visions.” [. . .] –Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times, September 16, 2010
“In the gorgeous grounds of Rome’s Villa Borghese park the glitterati of the movie world are gathered for a world premiere. A legendary Italian movie director has come out of retirement to create a blockbuster based on Dante’s Inferno. But, as Nic Costa and his colleagues attempt to guard the precious collection of historic artefacts attached to the event, the premiere is disrupted by tragedy and a horrific murder.” [. . .] —David Hewson
Contributed by Patrick Molloy
“Jack Branch, teaching high school in his hometown in the Mississippi Delta in 1954, is justifiably proud of his college-prep ‘specialty’ class on the nature of evil. It’s a guts-and-gore attack on the classics–a potent mix of Dante and Melville and Jack the Ripper, delivered with the relish of Suetonius and the pizzazz of a burlesque stripper, and it prods his restless students to think about issues like hatred and intolerance. But this prideful young man, scion of an old aristocratic family who freely admits his sense of noblesse oblige in educating the poor and underprivileged, hasn’t given a thought to the kind of evil he himself can generate by meddling in other people’s lives.” [. . .] –Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times, July 13, 2008
Asensi’s first novel to be published in English features a clandestine religious organization, a code contained in the work of a long-dead genius, a plucky heroine, and just the right combination of obscure history and plausible conjecture. Sound familiar? The Last Cato will inevitably draw comparisons to The Da Vinci Code, but this book is in many ways more compelling, if a bit less accessible. After Dr. Ottavia Salina, a nun working as a paleographer at the Vatican, is asked to decipher tattoos on the dead body of an ‘enemy of the Church’ from Ethiopia, she soon discovers the deceased was tied up with the Staurofilakes, an ancient order who have sought to protect the True Cross and now seem to be stealing slivers of it from around the world. The key to tracking them down? Dante’s Divine Comedy. Turns out that Dante was a member of the order himself, and that the notoriously dense Divine Comedy is a kind of coded guidebook to the order’s rituals. Salina and a couple companions set off, with Dante as their guide, on a rollicking, round-the-world adventure. Some of the conjecture seems far-fetched, but the research is impeccable, and the behind-the-scenes Vatican life feels utterly authentic. As engrossing as it is intelligent, this just might be the next big book in the burgeoning religious thriller subgenre.” –John Green, Booklist, Amazon
The third installment of the Dominic Stansberry‘s San Francisco mystery series featuring Dante Mancuso, AKA The Pelican. Forthcoming, 2008 with St. Martin’s Minotaur.
“. . .THE ANCIENT RAIN, the third novel in a habit-forming series about Dante Mancuso, a private eye who knows everyone to talk to–or goes to the funeral of anyone unable to talk. Dante finds himself with a paying job when a federal prosecutor reopens a 1975 court case against Bill Owens, who once ran with the anarchists responsible for a bank robbery in which a woman was killed. As Dante works his sources–a vivid gallery of old-timers clinging to an eroding culture–he broods on the changes since 9/11, eloquently conveying the paranoia that can have a community seeing terrorists on every corner.” [. . .] –Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, April 27, 2008