I picked up The Monster of Florence by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi several times at my local used book store and the library before I actually bought it. The cover, which depicts a Renaissance sculpture, suggests that the “True Story” takes place at that time. In reality, the Monster of Florence murders occurred between 1968 and 1985, and were never solved.
The scandalous killings of 16 people, each involved couples, murdered at local trysting spots amongst the hillsides around the city of Florence. Both victims were always shot, the men first, then, the women were dragged from the vehicles and mutilated and posed nearby. Mario Spezi, a local Florentine and Preston’s co-author on the book, was familiar with the crimes and had even been present, as a journalist, at several of the crime scenes over the years. When Preston moved to Italy to write a different book, he met Spezi, who told him the history of the Monster of Florence killings and how there were many suspects over the years, but never any convictions, despite many arrests and trials.