New Suspense: The Abomination – Jonathan Holt

This one has sleeper written all over it. I first paid attention when colleague Gabe Barillas raved about it at sales conference and followed up with this: “The Abomination is one of the best mystery/thrillers I’ve ever read.  It’s loaded with a lot of plots and more twists than one can imagine….  The clincher is that the entire novel is based on fact (all 6 plots, rape as a tool of war and al its implications women in the military, women priests and a second online world where they can teach, the Bosnian War and America’s part in it, fifth column left behind after WWII), Holt lists links to all of these issues at the end of the book which I found sort of mind blowing.”

OK. Interesting. Then my partner grabbed my galley before I could read it, read it in a couple nights and gave it a thumbs up. Then we got this cool sinister cover. Then the reviews started coming in… If you want a brainy alternative to Dan Brown this summer, turn your customers on to this.

“This remarkable debut novel starts off like a lot of Venetian crime novels-body discovered in a canal, acqua alta getting everyone’s feet wet-but we quickly sense this is no ordinary mystery. …[It’s] a multi-stranded conspiracy thriller with plenty of pop. Think Dan Brown without the clunky prose and the pompous PhD hero but with the fascinating mix of history, paranoia, and real-live terror (drones on your tail).”
— Booklist (starred review)

In the first novel of a trilogy set in Venice, an Italian policewoman and a female U.S. Army officer investigate the murder of two women who threatened to expose dark secrets about America’s involvement in the Bosnian War.…This all takes place under the watchful eye of Daniele Barbo, the genius bad boy of social networking, who created Carnivia, a 3-D simulation of Venice where members meet through avatars and share secrets. Whether Daniele is out to help or hinder . . . is one of the mysteries of this book, which has more than enough plot and well-drawn characters to stir interest in the sequels. The Carnivia site is such a clever invention an entire novel could be set inside its ‘walls.’ A skillfully rendered debut.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“[A] diverting debut…Holt captures the allure of Venice and its creative cyber-counterpart, and creates two forceful . . . protagonists in Kat and Holly. The author gets carried away by throwing mystery on top of mystery, but, well, that’s part of the fun.”
— Publishers Weekly

The Abomination: Book One of the Carnivia Trilogy (9780062264336) by Jonathan Holt. $25.99 hardcover. 6/18/13 on sale.

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