Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Daughter of Ashes by Ilaria Tuti

First Line: She wasn't much older than thirty and she felt like she had turned to dust.
Superintendent Teresa Battaglia is a trail-blazing criminal detective on the Italian police force. Currently, she's on sick leave to recuperate from her brush with death in pursuit of a killer, but what no one else knows is that her Alzheimer's is getting worse, and Teresa believes she may never return to work.
However, her retirement plans are shelved when serial killer Giacomo Mainardi insists on speaking with her. Twenty-seven years ago, Teresa's work put Mainardi behind bars in a maximum security prison. Now the convicted killer tells her that someone is after him, and only Teresa holds the key to keeping everyone safe.
To solve this case, Teresa must resurrect a past that she thought she'd buried for good. A past when Mainardi first began to kill, and Teresa-- newly pregnant and married to an abusive man-- did everything in her power to catch him.
Daughter of Ashes is the amazing conclusion to Ilaria Tuti's trilogy that began with Flowers Over the Inferno and The Sleeping Nymph. In it, readers are finally allowed to see Teresa Battaglia's entire history: her genius for crime solving, the misogyny she's had to endure throughout her career, and-- most telling and important of all-- her personal life away from the job. Her personal history is a factor in the relationship between Battaglia and the top-notch team she's trained. They are her children, "her boys", and there's nothing that they wouldn't do for each other. 
If Inspector Massimo Marini and the rest of the team had their way, they would never be without her, but Daughter of Ashes is a bittersweet tale indeed. Teresa Battaglia's dementia is worsening. "This illness was toying with her life like a breeze with a dry leaf," and she knows she must retire before she becomes a liability. But she can't quit just yet because, once and for all, she must deal with serial killer, Giacomo Mainardi. One of the best things about this book is its humanity, and that compassion and empathy extend to Mainardi. Readers can-- and will be-- appalled at what Mainardi does, but once his own personal history is revealed, he becomes a truly sympathetic character. 

Yes, the mystery is intriguing, but the characters remain first and foremost in my mind, the lead in particular. Teresa Battaglia's life is a triumph of will and endurance that is ultimately betrayed by her mind. Ilaria Tuti's portrayal of her is so vivid that I feel as though I know her.

Daughter of Ashes by Ilaria Tuti
eISBN: 9781641294188
Soho Press © 2023
eBook, 432 pages
Police Procedural, #3 Teresa Battaglia mystery
Rating: A
Source: Net Galley


  1. It's not easy to bring a trilogy to a really appropriate ending, Cathy, but it sounds as though that's what happens here. And, although the characters are the main focus, I also have to say I love the setting for this!

    1. I must say, however, that the setting plays very little part in this series, Margot.

  2. I've been wondering from the first how Tuti would wrap up this trilogy, and it sounds as though she's as successful with this as with the other 2 books. Another one to look forward to.

    1. I'm not saying that Tuti's conclusion is all happy clappy, but it is good.


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