Title: Blood in the Snow
Expected publication: out now
My Rating: 🌟🌟🌟
I am delighted to take part in the Blog Tour for Franco Marks' thriller Blood in the Snow, set against a backdrop of the beautiful Italian Alps! Make sure you visit the other blogs taking part in this tour.
Marzio Santoni left behind the brutal crimes of the big city long ago.
Valdiluce is a quiet ski resort, where all he needs is the peace, quiet and his trusty vespa.
At first glance, the town inhabitants are as perfect as their postcard scenery. But under the surface, nothing is as it seems...
So when four women are discovered dead, seemingly by their own hand, Marzio can sense that something isn't right. Fighting against his police chief, his own emotions and the evidence stacked against him, Marzio is caught up in a race against time to discover what truly happened.
Gripping, shocking and packed with a punch that will leave you reeling long after the last page.
Having just come back from a holiday in the Italian Alps, I was excited when I was offered a review copy of Franco Marks’ mystery Blood in the Snow, featuring some of the amazing landscapes of this beautiful region. Isn’t the cover just beautiful? I’m happy to say that the armchair travel was almost as enjoyable, as Marks skilfully recreated the small mountain villages and towns the story takes place in – I could vividly picture main protagonist Marzio speeding along on his bike around hairpin bends on lonely country roads.
Whilst the armchair travel ticked all the boxes, there was the additional bonus of an intriguing mystery wrapped up in this package. The bodies of four women are found in a holiday apartment in the picturesque ski resort town of Valdiluce. Was it a suicide gone wrong, or murder? DI Marzio Santoni has a very personal stake in solving the mystery, seeing that one of the women had been his mistress, and he is convinced that she would never have taken her own life. Death, however, is very bad for tourism, and the townfolk are only too happy to dismiss the deaths as an unfortunate accident – Marzio’s digging into their affairs is not going to go down well.
I really liked the character of Marzio, who seemed like a breath of fresh air with his outdoor-man persona and his strange ability to pick up scents (yes, it sounds strange, but it added quite a unique quirk to his character). His nickname of “White Wolf” suited his identify as lonely mountain man, which intrigued me. At times he tended to be a bit too maudlin, but it suited the remote setting and small town atmosphere the author was trying to convey. Taking place in a small town, the interactions between the characters and the politics behind their actions were at times more interesting than the mystery itself, which perhaps could have done with a few more thrills to prompt more shock and surprise on its ultimate reveal.
I think the one thing that let the story down at times was the translation from Italian, which was often a bit too literal and could have done with some tweaking. I realise the difficulty in staying true to the author’s unique voice and making the prose more palatable for an international audience, which must be hard. However, if in doubt I would always opt for the latter, as the overall enjoyment of the book ultimately comes down to the reader’s ability to understand and relate to events depicted. Having just been to Italy I was able to overlook these minor quibbles and appreciate the sometimes unusual wording as something that added character to the story. Some things still puzzle me, however – what, for example, is a “bio-detective”?
All in all, Blood in the Snow was an intriguing, slow burning police procedural set in the beautiful Italian Alps, which made for great armchair travel. This was a quick read, which would make a good travel companion, and even though the translation was a bit clunky at times it was fun to add another great location to my armchair travel map.
About the author:
Franco Marks is a writer and television director who lives and works in Rome. He has written the novels La neve rossa, Il visionario (shortlisted for the 2003 Strega Prize), Festa al blu di Prussia (winner of the Procida Isola di Arturo – Elsa Morante Prize 2005), Il profumo della neve (shortlisted for the 2007 Strega Prize), Lo show della farfalla(shortlisted for the 2010 Viareggio-Repaci Prize), Il suicidio perfetto, La mossa del cartomante, Tre cadaveri sotto la neve, Lo strano caso dell’orso ucciso nel bosco, Delitto con inganno and Giallo di mezzanotte. His books have been translated in several countries.
Thank you to Aria Fiction for the free electronic copy of this novel and for giving me the opportunity to provide an honest review.