Richard and Judy Review Kill the Father by Sandrone Dazieri
"The story revs through the chapters like a finely tuned Formula One racing engine."
What a cracker of a novel this is. Sandrone Dazieri skilfully blends three genres into one totally compelling tale; part psychological thriller, part police investigation, part conspiracy theory. The story revs through the chapters like a finely tuned Formula One racing engine.
Interestingly, the author has never written in English before. Dazieri is Italian and has penned eight bestselling novels and more than 50 screenplays in his native language. Kill The Father is written in what I would call American-English; until I looked the author up I assumed he was from somewhere like New York or LA.
The book opens in compelling, chilling flashback. We are in a grain silo. With a young boy. He is being held captive there. And he’s been in the silo for 11 years.
The world is a curving wall of grey cement. The world has muffled sounds and echoes. The world is a circle two times the length of his outstretched arms. The first thing the boy learned in that circular world were his new names. He has two. Son is the name he prefers. He has the right to it when he does the right things… otherwise, his name is Beast. When he’s called Beast, the boy is punished. When he’s called Beast, the boy goes cold and hungry. When he’s called Beast, the circular world stinks.
But one day the boy discovers a crack has developed in the silo, and he begins to glimpse the world outside. Ultimately he escapes – and his horrific experience will, in time, be turned to great and powerful use.
"You may want to sleep with the light on for a while after finishing this book."
The captive boy is Dante Torre. He was held prisoner for more than a decade by a shadowy man known only as ‘The Father’, who has never been apprehended. He may be dead. Or he may be quietly plotting his next abduction.
Back in the present, a young boy disappears from a park; his mother’s body is swiftly discovered close by. She has been brutally murdered.
Her husband – the missing boy’s father – is immediately targeted by police as the prime suspect in both the murder and disappearance. But one of the investigating officers isn’t comfortable with the theory, and calls in a former colleague, Colomba, to review the case. In turn she turns for help to Dante Torre, who since his terrible experience has become an expert advisor in child abduction cases. He has a gift – hard won – of comprehending the deep psychology of such crimes and an extraordinary ability to ‘read’ the people involved.
But this time, it’s personal. As the investigation gets underway, Colomba and Torre begin to realise the chilling truth: the missing boy is linked to Torre’s own abduction years before.
The Father is back.
Dazieri is excellent at describing the psychology of the case and in particular Torre’s own tortured psyche. He suffers from severe post-traumatic stress disorder following his own long incarceration. It makes some aspects of the investigation deeply traumatic for him, but he soldiers on.
There are many twists and turns along the way, and a fabulous, richly satisfying ending. But you may want to sleep with the light on for a while after finishing this book.
You’ve written 50 screenplays and eight novels but this is your first one in English. Quite a debut! How did you find writing in English, Sandrone?
Well … I read, write and speak English, the latter with a horrible accent, but I wouldn’t have the ability to write a thriller in your beautiful language. Luckily, I found a wonderful street companion in translator Anthony Shugaar, with whom I worked side by side for the English and American edition. Virtually side by side, via Skype. We have never met in person, but I’m really, really grateful to him. If you are reading this, Tony, I love you.
Perhaps we’re wrong but we get the impression that you lock down every twist and turn of your plot before beginning the actual writing. True?
It is true, in part. At first, I have in mind the characters’ paths and the main twists, but many come as I write, too. I never know exactly what will happen in my novels, otherwise I get bored. I am my first reader, and a demanding reader too, even with myself. I have to be constantly surprised, so I don’t lose interest. 🙂
Your description of the claustrophobia of incarceration is gripping. Did you research this, or did it all come from a vivid imagination?
I’ve been researching my whole life and I’m sure I have a vivid imagination to add to it, but, above all, I learned to know myself. Dante and I see the world alike, even though he’s a lot smarter than me. And he’s also a lot more handsome than me.
More English novels to come? We hope so.
The next one will be published at the beginning of next year: it’s called Kill the Angel and opens with an attack in Rome. Colomba and Dante will be back, you can be sure of that!
- Sandrone Dazieri is a screenwriter – do you think this has affected the tone of the novel?
- Dante Torre is a complex character. Discuss how his experience as a child has shaped his choices as an adult
- Discuss the working relationship between Torre and Caselli
- Kill the Father is fast paced – discuss the structure of the thriller