|Night by Michelangelo Buonarroti|
The Sculptor isn't the best book ever written, but it's certainly among the best I've read recently. It's quite a chilling tale.
Someone is recreating the works of Michelangelo, only they're using real bodies, rather than marble. The first statue, Bacchus, turns up in a wealthy banker's garden and features the corpses of a well-known football player and an unknown teenage boy. At least - half of a boy. Because the man who calls himself The Sculptor has created a satyr from the top half of the teen's body and the back end of a goat. Frighteningly, the work is dedicated to art historian Dr Catherine Hildebrant, who is called in to help the FBI's behavioural analysis unit interpret the killer's motives.
Right from the start author Gregory Funaro allows us into The Sculptor's mind, so we can compare his thought processes to the conclusions being reached by the 'pretty art historian' and FBI special agent Sam Markham.
We also get a rapid development of the inevitable relationship between the agent and the 'pretty art historian'. Rather than leaving the association to provide a neat, happy ending to the last chapter, Funaro allows the pair to become close at the start. It means the reader is never sure that a happy ending is actually on the cards.
I won't be so mean as to spoil the end. Just remember, it's a chilling read. It's also an excellent, fast-paced novel with an unusual back story behind the Sculptor's behaviour. There's a bit of pop psychology, but nothing too trite, and there are a few blind alleys to be lost in before the book reaches its violent crescendo.
In fact my only real complaint is Funaro's insistence on (and presumably an editor's failure to spot) the repeated use of the phrase 'pretty art historian'. Unless you're a stickler for that kind of thing like I am, you probably won't notice.
And I guarantee you'll track down a photo of the sculpture of Bacchus before you reach Chapter Three.