A hunt for a deranged killer begins when a replica of Michelangelo’s Bacchus, formed from human corpses, is discovered in a topiary garden. FBI Special Agent Sam Markham contacts art historian Cathy Hildebrant for two reasons: she published a book on Michelangelo’s work and the killer dedicated the sculpture to her. Hildebrant is brought into the investigation as a consultant, working closely with Markham. Both grieving the loss of their spouses – Hildebrant through divorce and Markham through death – are somewhat surprised at their attraction to one another. The media quickly learns of the macabre sculpture and dubs the killer The Michelangelo Killer. When another statue is discovered, this one a replica of the Pieta, the killer leaves a message calling himself The Sculptor. Through extensive research, Markham and Hildebrant begin uncovering clues as to The Sculptor’s identity. The killer, now seeing Hildebrant’s aid to the FBI as betrayal, begins to plan his next sculpture, one utilizing Hildebrant’s body.

 Funaro delivers a galvanizing thriller, packed with suspense around a mystery readers will enjoy trying to solve. Woven into the story are intriguing historical facts about Michelangelo and his works of art which enrich the read. Characterization is exceptional and the plot moves at a fast pace and with such intensity the reader will be vested throughout the book. An excellent debut thriller.

 Christy Tillery French