Leon draws reader back in

JILLIAN ALLISON-AITKEN
Last updated 05:00 08/09/2012

BOOK REVIEW: Beastly Things
By Donna Leon (William Heinemann, RRP $37)

I was a fan of author Donna Leon's earlier books in the Commissario Brunetti series, a collection of crime novels set in Venice, but had gone off the more recent offerings because they were all getting too repetitive and lacking grunt.

However, I'm pleased she is back on form with this latest book, Beastly Things.

When a disfigured body is found floating in a canal, Brunetti knows he recognises him from somewhere. Eventually, he recalls seeing the man at a protest the year before and from there the story moves along quickly.

With just a fragile lead, Brunetti and colleagues try to identify the dead man. Their investigation leads them to a slaughterhouse where they discover the origin of the crime.

The scenes described in the slaughterhouse are not for the faint of heart, but it is there that the story began, with blackmail, corruption and violence.

As the investigation continues, it expands to look into both the murder and the dark side of Italy's meat industry.

A good read that will surely win the author new fans.

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