Luigi Alfredo Ricciardi, of the Royal Police Headquarters of Naples, has a terrible gift: the last moments of those who die violently are replayed for him in vivid detail, against his will. He has an undeniably useful tool for an investigator, to be sure, but not one that lends itself to a happy or well-adjusted life. In BLOOD CURSE, the second installment in Maurizio de Giovanni’s Commissario Riccardi series after I WILL HAVE VENGEANCE, Ricciardi and his partner are committed to solving the murder of an elderly moneylender and soothsayer who was beaten to death in her own apartment. De Giovanni, through a masterful translation from the Italian by Anthony Shugaar, writes equally well about external grisliness (“The customer could sense the corpse slowly turning its head to look at him: the faint snap of the vertebrae in its neck, the damp slithering of the wound’s twin lips”) as he does about Ricciardi’s internal disquiet (“He was obliged to walk against the wind, buffeted by the last shifting gusts of grief of all the dead people he had met along his path”). De Giovanni has created one of the most interesting and well-drawn detectives in fiction, and this book is a real treat that should not be missed by crime lovers.