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The Lizard's Bite    by David Hewson order for
Lizard's Bite
by David Hewson
Order:  USA  Can
Delacorte, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Tim Davis

The Arcangelo family has been in the glass-making business for generations in Venice, Italy. Now, however, at the family's home and factory on the Island of Murano, a bizarre and tragic incident has claimed the lives of Uriel Arcangelo and his wife Bella.

Preliminary inquiries by the police seem to suggest that Uriel had murdered his wife, put her body into one of the factory's furnaces, and then died himself in a mysterious fire that seemed to have spontaneously erupted and nearly destroyed the glass-making facility.

Now, because of certain people who exercise powerful financial and political interests in Venice, law enforcement officials need quick and decisive closure in the case. So, Commissario Randazzo assigns three special investigators to the case - Leo Falcone, Nic Costa, and Gianni Peroni - and he gives them strict instructions: file a report (which should merely confirm the apparent facts) and close the case (without any further delays), and get it done within three weeks.

Falcone and his colleagues - on special assignment to Venice from Rome - immediately question the apparent facts of the case and Randazzo's prescriptive orders. Inquiries soon show that Uriel Arcangelo's brothers and sister, co-owners of the family business, seem to know more than they are willing to say about the deaths; Bella's family, rivals in the glass-making business in Venice, also seems to be guarding secrets; and in an increasingly dangerous environment of duplicity and death, too many people may be too eager to too quickly close this case. However, Falcone and company will not allow themselves to be deterred by corruption, deceit, and more homicides. They will, of course, uncover the truth!

Rich in its characterizations and splendid in its settings, The Lizard's Bite is a shrewdly plotted crime novel that will keep readers guessing until the surprising conclusion. With an impressive blending of solid suspense and pulse-pounding excitement, David Hewson's narrative style is spell-binding and entertaining. Readers who enjoy such masters as Ian Rankin, Arnaldur Indriđason, and Arturo Pérez-Reverte will almost certainly enjoy Hewson's magnificently crafted tale of deadly secrets and treacherous murders.

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