Title: The Abomination
Author: Jonathan Holt
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
When a body is found in the lagoons around Venice, Captain Kat Tapo is called to the scene to investigate. But this is no ordinary victim; it’s a woman dressed in the robes of a Catholic priest. As Kat searches for the murderer and the reason this woman was shot, it takes her from a virtual world called Carnivia to a much-maligned U.S. army base, and Kat begins to see the web of conspiracy that surrounds this case.
When I first read about The Abomination, it sounded like a sort of Da Vinci Code-esque thriller that would be mindlessly entertaining, if not exactly the highest quality of literature. But from the second I opened the book, I realized I was very wrong. This book was so much more than I’d thought, smart and sophisticated while still being entertaining. Not only does it have a rich, complex plot, it also has depth and two vividly drawn, well-developed characters.
There are so many aspects to The Abomination that it’s difficult to cover them all in one review. It’s the first in a trilogy, called The Carnivia Trilogy. Carnivia is a fictional massively multiplayer online gaming site that appears to be on the periphery of the novel, but as the book progresses, the reader realizes it’s key to the plot. Carnivia is lovingly described in detail, as is the larger setting of Venice. Readers will enjoy seeing this beautiful city come to life in front of them
The two main female leads in The Abomination are Holly Boland, a second lieutenant in the United States Army and Kat Tapo, a captain in the Italian Carabinieri on her first homocide case. Though these two women have disparate storylines, without much interaction, it’s interesting to see how alike they are. Both are strong, smart, and confident, and both are women in men’s roles. Both also are digging to uncover secrets that have been hidden for years, Holly by NATO and Kat by the Catholic Church. They are realistically drawn with surprising depth for a thriller, and readers will immediately sympathize with and root for them.
In some ways, this review hasn’t revealed much of anything about The Abomination, but I feel that’s best. This is a novel where it’s best to know as little as possible going in. If you know too much, you’ll miss out at the surprise and delight around every corner of this book. Suffice it to say, this book soundly beat my expectations, and it was one of the most unique and enjoyable novels I’ve read recently.