*I received an arc via Bookbridgr in return for an honest review*
The Mountain by Luca D’Andrea
Translated by Howard Curtis
A CURSED PLACE. A COLD CASE. A KILLER WHO LEFT NO TRACE.
Jeremiah Salinger blames himself. The crash was his fault. He was the only survivor. Now the depression and the nightmares are closing in. Only his daughter Clara can put a smile on his face.
But when he takes Clara to the Bletterbach – a canyon in the Dolomites rich in fossil remains – he overhears by chance a conversation that gives his life renewed focus. In 1985 three students were murdered there, their bodies savaged, limbs severed and strewn by a killer who was never found.
Salinger, a New Yorker, is far from home, and these Italian mountains, where his wife was born, harbour a close-knit, tight-lipped community whose mistrust of outsiders can turn ugly. All the same, solving this mystery might be the only thing that can keep him sane.
Translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis
WOW! This novel is so much more in-depth than its synopsis! At the beginning I found the novel to be rather, slow burning and jumps from one event to another. However, once it gets going it is HIGHLY addictive!
The characterisation is brilliant, you slowly warm to protagonist, Jeremiah Salinger.
But once he had me, I was completely gripped at watching the plot unravel, through Jeremiah’s eyes!
Jeremiah Salinger, known as Salinger. Is married to the beautiful Annelise and has a young daughter Clara. Salinger is a documentary film maker with her best friend Mike McMellan. When Salinger’s career begins to struggle, his wife recommends a trip, to her native isolated home of Siebenhoch in Italy.
A break Salinger welcomes.
But Annelise may live to regret………..
Once arrived at the atmospheric location of Siebenhoch, Salinger has lengthy conversations with his father-in-law, Werner. Siebenhoch is a small remote village situated at an altitude of 1400 metres. The now, elderly Werner delights Salinger with tales from his time running and operating the Dolomite mountain rescue. This inspires Salinger to re-start the mountain rescue team. A move that does not go according to plan!
When a rescue mission goes wrong and leaves everyone dead except Salinger, he becomes a shunned man in the village. Combine that with the mental trauma of being the sole survivor and you have a very broken and devastated Salinger……….
It is during his recovery from this disastrous rescue mission, that Salinger learns of the Bletterbach killings of 1985! A case that could destroy not only Salinger but everything and everyone he holds dear. But without the beauty of hindsight and Salinger’s curious investigative mind. A re-opening of the case is born…..
“I’ll tell you everything I know without leaving anything out, and in return you promise me that you won’t let yourself be devoured by this story” – Werner
Salinger must be discreet, his wife has ensured he take a vow of sabbatical, from work, for at least a year, after the devastating rescue. But it isn’t long until Salinger is seeking out the help of local police officer Chief Max Krun. Salinger learns that three young adults went up to the secluded area of Bletterbach and were slaughtered in a brutal murder. The killer was never found, and the small village has never recovered from the deaths of Evi, Markus and Kurt. The crime scene is described in graphic detail, various limbs and heads missing from the victims. The aftermath of the crime plunged the surviving parents into a life of alcoholism and suicide.
Something, Salinger himself understands, only too well.
“That horror went inside you and you couldn’t leave” – Werner
There was little media coverage of the crime due to the remote location. There were no viable suspects, despite everyone in the area being investigated. There was no identifiable motive!
Who killed the group? And why?
Salinger just can’t get the case out of his head. He becomes determined to solve it once and for all.
Salinger’s investigation continues in secret but at quite a rapid pace. The novel may open slowly, but the investigation ignites the pace and makes for gripping reading! The locals react rather hostile towards Salinger and he learns that he must be-friend them before, he asks prying and painful questions.
“The Bletterbach is just a graveyard for monsters” – Verena
“Let’s leave the dead where they are they’re happier than us” – Hermann
The novel contains some fantastic writing and a twist you will NOT see coming! I was genuinely amazed at how much this seemingly cold case, gripped me. In the process of his case Salinger uncovers revelation after revelation, some of which shake him to his core!
I am so pleased that the novel is being translated into 30 languages, so that more readers can enjoy the amazing writing of, debut author Luca D’Andrea! 4.5*
“Some say you become an adult when you bury your parents; others, when you become a parent yourself. I didn’t agree with either of these two philosophies. You become an adult when you learn to apologise” – Jeremiah Salinger