This time Alabaster (a.k.a. Bianca Nerini) and her colleagues takes us to Naples, where tension is rapidly escalating between mafia clans and where she must outwit a powerful crime syndicate named Camorra.
Counterfeited euros and bonds, anagrams, car bombings, sexy women assassins on motorcycles, undercover detectives, and delicious Italian food mix together in this page-turning thriller filled with international intrigue. At the heart of the plot is a mysterious agent named Loki who, via the computer, communicates intelligence to Bianca. The problem is, we don’t know who she or he is, or what his motives are. We only know Loki has an avid affinity for anagrams which Bianca must decipher. Needless to say, not an easy task.
I’ve read all of the Roma series books, and I found this to be the most complex and skilfully plotted. There are a lot of secondary characters, and I was grateful for the list of character descriptions at the start of the book, which I found helpful, especially at the beginning until I familiarized myself with all the names. Valjan has a gift when it comes to writing about organized crime, and I found the dynamics between clashing mafia clans and their doings terrifyingly real. The inter-relations between special agents, the FBI, the Italian regional police, and capitalist magnates also ring with authenticity. The story moves fairly quickly with a lot of dialogue propelling the plot.
Turning to Stone is a deftly written novel and one fans of suspense will surely enjoy. Recommended.