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The Rosary Girls (2006)

The Rosary Girls (2006)
3.98 of 5 Votes: 5
0345470966 (ISBN13: 9780345470966)
ballantine books
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The Rosary Girls (2006)
The Rosary Girls (2006)

About book: Richard Montanari, Rosary Girls (Ballantine, 2005)I always approach a new (well, new-to-me) ongoing mystery series with trepidation. Not because I fear I'll hate it. In fact, I have a lot fewer problems with those I hate, since I can just abandon them. But, you see, I'm a reader of George R. R. Martin. I've waited ten years for what is, essentially, volume four of A Song of Ice and Fire (A Feast for Crows, which popped up six years ago, was the first half of volume four. A Dance with Dragons, supposedly coming out in July 2011, is the second half. And I'll believe it's coming out when I'm holding it in my hands; this is the fifth release date I've seen for it). No, I'm afraid I'm going to love it, in which case I will end up, at one point, waiting for new volumes to come out. So despite my curiosity about the Balzano and Byrne books from Richard Montanari, which have garnered a good deal of good press over the years, I resisted trying them. Then Badlands came out, which was widely hailed as the best of the lot, and I figured I should probably start reading these things. So I took Rosary Girls, the first in the series, on vacation with me last month and gave it a whirl. I figured what the heck, I have a week to get through it if it doesn't capture my interest. Thankfully, that night my wife was sleeping downstairs (taking night shift with a cousin's new baby), so I didn't have to turn the light off early. And twenty-four hours later, I was turning to the next piece of fiction I'd brought on the trip, because I'd blasted through this.The jacket copy made me think Byrne was your basic maverick cop, but I didn't really get that from the beginning of the book; I thought he was perhaps a little more gung-ho, but not Dirty Harry. (This actually becomes very important later in the book; always beware of trusting your jacket copy.) Soon after we open, Byrne is called to the scene of a homicide in Philadelphia: a Catholic school girl has been found dead, in a pose that suggests a piece of religious artwork. It's nasty stuff indeed, and it only gets worse at the autopsy. Balzano's new partner—his old one is laid up in the hospital post-heart troubles—is young, inexperienced, but sharp Jessica Byrne, and it's she who places the school uniform: her own alma mater. And thus the chase begins. But this being a modern detective novel, where single murders are about as common as white roses growing naturally at the north pole, a second body turns up, and Balzano and Byrne start closing in on a suspect. Unfortunately, the Diocese of Philadelphia, perhaps the most powerful force in the city, may have some interest in keeping their suspect out of the hands of the police. And then there's a tabloid journalist who really, really wants to get Kevin Byrne in some sort of scandal and bring him down...Montanari kicks things off in high gear and only gets faster from there; there's not a page in this book that isn't breakneck. The mystery is very well-architected, the characters are strong (interesting in a book that's the first of a series; so many series authors these days are taking multiple books to really get into their characters), and while I haven't lived in Philadelphia for a good deal longer than I'd like to admit to, it felt right, from an expatriate's perspective anyway. The ending seemed a bit contrived (not as “the resolution to the mystery”, but as “the beginning to the series”), but I generally don't count points off for it because I'm so used to it these days. A solid beginning to the series, and I'm looking forward to reading more of it. *** 1/2

This is my first foray into Richard Montanari; no idea if he’s published before this or not, though it’s a first-in-a-series novel, introducing Detective Byrne and his rookie partner Jessica. In this, their first dual case, someone is murdering and mutilating young Catholic schoolgirls. A brutal crime with a religious/blasphemous edge isn’t exactly a new idea in the genre, and I wasn’t expecting much, but I was surprised and pleased to find a solid, clever story behind door number one, and a dénouement that didn’t disappoint.So, Montanari, it turns out, writes with the sort of heart that Ed McBain brought to crime fiction, which goes a long way to absolving him of any minor writing sins; sometimes telling rather than showing, and a tendency to focus on description like a creative-writing student on his first assignment (okay, I may be overstating a little, but there’s a lot of lingering on the landscape of Philadelphia and the weather that could have been pared back, to perhaps even greater effect). His characters (grizzled older cop, young female rookie) should be stereotypes, but he’s brought such fresh vigour to their direction that you forget that’s been done before. His crime scenarios are disturbing enough, without overstretching for effect, and the plot has got legs that just won’t quit (it’ll walk you all around the block before getting you home).I was a little put off by Byrne’s slightly psychic ability – partly because I was worried about Deus ex machina syndrome taking over the ending and, paradoxically, because it was so played down straight away and then took a long, long seat on the back burner, that I got the impression that that author didn’t know whether to poo or get off the pot with it. In the end, it was nicely balanced with deductive reasoning, helping the partners but not solving the case.I liked The Rosary Girls enough to read the next one, and some things about it I liked a lot. This has stayed with me (is a sentimental sap): ***Spoiler Warning*** Just as Byrne realises he’s about to take a bullet, he arranges his hand into the deaf sign for ‘I love you’ – he has a deaf daughter, and this was just adorable. Of course, he didn’t do this on any of the other occasions that he almost died, but this (better late than never) was the point at which I was convinced of Byrne’s separation from the grey, impersonal crowd of stereotypical ‘gritty’ fictional detectives.
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The first thing I want to say is, I have definitely found my favorite genre of books, thrillers/murder/mystery. It's been a while since I have read one. This is a new series. I received this book from a bookcrossing member several years ago. Why didn't I read this sooner? The setting is Philadelphia. I don't know much about Philadelphia. I've only been there as a layover for a flight to someplace else. I relate this town to a biography I read about a famous model/drug addict who died of aids, Gia Carangi. The plot: Someone is killing young girls who attend catholic school. Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne are homicide cops on the case. Jessica is recently separated from her husband and has just become Kevin's partner. She has a 6 year-old daughter, Sophie. Kevin is a veteran cop with demons. He is divorced and has a deaf teenaged daughter. This author did a brilliant job creating the characters in this first book, as well as, setting up some great suspense. It's been a long time since I couldn't find enough free time to read instead of playing on my ipad. The characters in this book are flawed. But you still like them. Jessica still loves her husband but can't forgive him for cheating on her. She has been promoted from auto theft to homicide and is paired up with Kevin Byrne.Kevin is another flawed character. More so than Jessica. He is hard core cop. History has placed him in some very life threatening situations where he hasn't made the most honorable choice. But his heart is definitely in the right place.I've ordered the 2nd book from this series already.This is one of those series I could fly through reading one after the other.
Neide Parafitas
Uma vaga de crimes está a ter lugar na cidade de Filadélfia. Raparigas que estudam em colégios católicos são encontradas mortas, com as mãos aparafusadas. Estas seguram um rosário, onde se verifica que estão em falta algumas das suas contas. Existe todo um ritual minuciosamente preparado que deve cessar antes que o ciclo esteja completo!Adorei este livro! É um policial carregado de pormenores religiosos que trazem consigo o suspense necessário até que a última página seja virada e que fará certamente a delícia de muitos leitores apreciadores deste género!! :)
Shauna Tyndall
The Rosary Girls reminded me of an episode of Criminal Minds or C.S.I: N.Y. The characters were all interesting, and the plot was well thought out. I was, however, just a little disappointed when the identity of our killer was revealed. Don't get me wrong, it was certainly plausible and ended the story neatly, but I always prefer books were the killer turns out to be the cool, unshakeable psychopath. The killer in this, while a touch crazy, has a very definite reason as to why he started his killing spree. I prefer to have a bit of freedom to wonder what the motivation is, rather than be told what it is. I will though, be reading the next in the series.
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