The Deliverance of Evil-Roberto Costantini, translated by N.S. Thompson

The Deliverance of Evil
Roberto Costantini, translated by N.S. Thompson
Quercus, Feb 11 2014, $26.95
ISBN 9781623650025

In 1982 in Spain, Italy wins the World Cup. The country is ecstatic with its first championship since before WWII. While Rome celebrates, eighteen years old Elisa Sordi vanishes. Like much of the country, young politically-connected Police Commissario Michele Balistreri joins in the reveille while he delays the missing person’s investigation using SOPs as the rationale to the hysterical parents of the teen. Michele’s passion remains vino and women until a few days later when Elisa’s battered body is found on the banks of the Tiber. The despondent cop realizes the impact of what he allowed and vows never again.

In 2006, Italy defeats France in Germany to win their first World Cup since 1982. At the same time, Elisa’s mom commits suicide while several young women are tortured and murdered just like her daughter was. This time Balistreri vows to solve the present day serial killings and the cold case that still haunts him.

Ironically though the 1982 homicide radically changes the protagonist from an uncaring hedonist to a dedicated cop, Balistreri remains unlikable and unsympathetic. The engaging Italian police procedural provides the audience with a fascinating psychological look at how ugly nurturing turns a human into an amoral evil.


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