Cover Image: Sweet Song, Bitter Loss

Sweet Song, Bitter Loss

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Member Reviews

Overall, the book was ok up to the point where I put it down.  Unfortunately I felt like I was forcing myself to finish it and I am unable to enjoy reading a book like that. I will definitely try another book from this author.
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Sweet Song, Bitter Loss by Paul Hencher is a novel set in rural Italy. It's a "who dunnit" novel and kept me guessing throughout. 
Eleven year old Giovanni goes missing after an argument with his sisters fiancé. The Italian carabinieri wants Major D'Angelo to search for the missing boy. It is getting very difficult with each passing day... Simultaneously in Pescara, a sea side city, what appears to be a drug related murder, leads to a bigger chase related to  human trafficking ring and an imminent shipment of migrants. Colonel Battista will leave no stone unturned.

I enjoyed the book but couldn't help being worried about Giovanni. It was a short and fast paced novel full of dark secrets and terrific suspense.

I was at the edge of my seat as there's a missing child, pesky neighbours, shots being heard around the time when Giovanni goes missing, drugs, human trafficking, and number of suspects- a butcher, a foreigner, the neighbours,the church..and I just had to finish it in one sitting. 
Thanks to @netgalley for the review copy. 
#abruzzo #pescara #drugs #humantrafficking #mystery #missing #missingchild #giovanni #italy #rural #carabinieri #whodunnit #suspense #murder #migrants #NetGalley #slayingthenetgalleytbr #troubador #NetgalleyQuarantineChallenge
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🌄Policing in the Italian back of beyond:  a boy lost, a heartless villain found😲

👍👍 I would characterize this book as a bittersweet police procedural that pits rural policing against hardboiled crime. What begins as a seemingly simple case of a runaway child soon includes petty crime, drug and people trafficking, and brutal murders and, unfortunately, many of the victims are children, including a brave Vietnamese girl tricked into modern slavery and the missing boy's loyal sister.  I loved the eastern Italy Abruzzi setting and the slow development of disparate investigations into a pattern that carabinieri major d'Angelo gets to decipher (with the aid of his sharp daughter).  There's a good backstory for d'Angelo, who comes with a demanding wife and is the object of some ridicule by his subordinates for never carrying a gun, and the distinct personalities of the victims, family members and other police called to action made me eager to read more about these characters.  The ending is rather abruptly cut off, but it's no cliffhanger, my interest never flagged, and the overall story was really enjoyable though with several tragic losses.

Thanks to Matador and Troubador Publishing and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of the book;  this is my voluntary and honest review.
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It started off so promising ... then it felt like the author just tried to cram in too many different subjects ... child abuse, human trafficking, slave labour, politics and poverty. The ending felt like the biggest rush job i have read in a while.. as though the author couldn't wait to hit submit.
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This was a great mystery that was intelligent, as well as full of intrigue and mystery.  Thanks to the author's brilliant writing when describing Abruzzo, Italy, I want to visit there one day.
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Definitely something I could read again. I'm glad I had the opportunity to read this one. I have recommended this one to others already!
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I enjoy a book that can run the gamut of my emotions and have me gasp when twists and turns are revealed. Sweet Song Bitter Loss by Paul Hencher, has done just that. I was first drawn to the description of the book because it takes place in Abruzzo, Italy, where my mother's family is from, along a coastal town of Pescara.

Major D'Angelo is in charge of finding a missing boy. The case leads him and the other carabinieri along a twisting path of mystery and intrigue. There were many good characters and storylines in this book, and they all kept my interest. The mystery was well plotted and had me guessing right up until the very end and the reveal. 

I hope Mr. Hencher writes additional books. His storytelling and character development are done well, and I liked learning about the various towns and customs. 

I would highly recommend this book.
#SweetSongBitterLoss #NetGalley @matadorbooks
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The Italian backdrop for this thriller added a lot to its appeal. Rarely do I find a mystery based in a small town in Abruzzo. The novel had too many subplots, so to bring them all to a conclusion that made sense the writer had to stretch a little bit too much. Leaving some of these plots unresolved was a let down. What happened to the Vietnamese was open ended. Also I felt the author added details that were superfluous and then never returned to them for explanation. It was a mystery that felt compelled to include all the typical topics.. murder, drug cartels, human trafficking and infidelity. Not necessary.
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Troubadour Publishing Ltd for a review copy of Sweet Song, Bitter Loss, a police procedural set in the Abruzzo region of Italy.

When 11 year old Giovanni Mirelti disappears from the village of Montenero Major D’Angelo of the Chieti Carabiniere takes the case. There is no sign of Giovanni and no witnesses so the case becomes difficult. In the meantime D’Angelo’s boss, Colonel Battista is investigating a drug related torture and murder case and trying to get a line on a human smuggling ring.

I enjoyed Sweet Song, Bitter Loss which has a good tale to tell. I was drawn to the novel by the title which suggested rural noir to me, a genre that is fast becoming one of my favourites. Yes, it is set in the countryside and yes, there are some nefarious doings but it doesn’t have much to say about the human condition or particular rural problems. 

I liked the plot which is fairly straightforward in that there are no twists and tends to follow the standard police procedural format, follow the clues and eventually triangulate on a suspect. It is told almost entirely from the investigative point of view with a couple of switches to explain notable events. As a result the reader is, mostly apart from a few guessable moments, following events along with the investigators. The problem with the novel lies in the balance. The plot kept me interested throughout but it loses impetus in the overwhelming, extraneous detail. Who needs to know about Battista’s visit to the golf course and his problems with his game, to mention one example? A decent prune would have made for a more impactful novel. This detail, however, does not really flesh out the characters. I don’t feel that I got to know them in any depth.

I am assuming that this is a debut novel as I couldn’t find anything about the author or other works by him. It is a decent stab at a police procedural and while it has teething problems I’m not ready to say never again and would read a follow up before passing judgement.
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