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Reviewed by Dan M. Kalin for Readers' Favorite
Mark Tricarico presents a thriller set mostly in Venice during the early 16th century. Paolo Avesari is the youngest son of a glass-making dynasty. He has broken free of the family business to pursue his own interests. Disowned by a disappointed father, Paolo works at the Venice Arsenal shipyard whose engineering works were fascinating in their own right. Paolo's life is down to a settled routine until his brother Ciro is brutally tortured and killed at the family glassworks. Struggling to make sense of the murder, Paolo asks the wrong questions and loses his job. Undeterred, he persists and soon his own life is at risk as he stands accused by the Council of Ten for his brother's murder. Paolo reluctantly flees Venice with the help of unlikely allies. Will The Venetian find a way to clear his name and return to his beloved city?
I found The Venetian to be a very well-crafted gem of a murder mystery with credible historic flourishes to add verisimilitude and enjoyment. Mark Tricarico's prose is tightly edited and to the point, making it a distinct pleasure to read. If you have ever walked the winding streets of Venice, those memories will overlay against the story told here, and you'll find yourself wanting to return to better experience Paolo's world. This book never requires the reader to suspend disbelief; every detail has been seen to and forms a seamless fabric. The Venetian easily ranks among the top five thrillers I have read over the last ten years, substantially better than some instantly recognizable big-name authors. If craft means anything to you, read this book!