Review: A Divine Fury by D. V. Bishop

A Divine Fury by D. V. Bishop

Timy reviews A Divine Fury, the fourth book in the Cesare Aldo historical mystery series by D. V. Bishop.

Review(s) of previous book(s): City of Vengeance, The Darkest Sin, Ritual of Fire

An eARC was received by PanMacmillan via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

About the Book
Series:Cesare Aldo #4
Genre:Historical Fiction, Mystery
Publisher:Pan Macmillan
Date of Publishing:June 20, 2024
Trigger Warnings:death, blood
Page count:416

Possible fit for The Sound of Madness Reading Challenge 2024 prompts:

Joker prompt that goes with anything: Now We Are Free

Anywhere Away From HereKiss My Ass
HandwrittenYou Are My Home
PsychoSummer Jam
AddictedNew Song
The MysticSay It
Queen of KingsThe Legend of Mother Swan
Accidentally in LoveThrough Glass
White FlagRoad to Joy
Sob StoryGive That Wolf a Banana
Always HalloweenKill Your Conscience
TherapyGhosts & Monsters
Low LifeChasing Stars
Book Blurb
A Divine Fury by D. V. Bishop

Florence. Autumn, 1539.

Cesare Aldo was once an officer for the city’s most feared criminal court. Following a period of exile, he is back – but demoted to night patrol, when only the drunk and the dangerous roam the streets.

Chasing a suspect in the rain, Aldo discovers a horrifying scene beneath Michelangelo’s statue of David. Lifeless eyes gaze from the face of a man whose body has been posed as if crucified. It’s clear the killer had religious motives.

When more bodies appear, Aldo believes an unholy murderer is stalking the citizens of Florence. Watching. Hunting. Waiting for the perfect moment to strike again . . .

Quote of the Book
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“‘That is correct,’ Testardo said. ‘I’ve dealt with Aldo before. He is an irksome, self-satisfied creature, but he also has a talent for finding truth that others prefer to ignore.’
Aldo suppressed a smile. That qualified as praise from Testardo.”

Song of the Book

Not going to lie, it’s getting harder and harder to pick a song for these books. So, for A Divine Fury I went with La Paura Del Buio by Maneskin, as usual.

Review

Here we go, my fourth review in the Cesare Aldo series this year. Wait a minute, what do you mean I have to wait a YEAR for the next one? What the hell am I supposed to do with myself until then?! I’d like to speak to the manager, please, this Queen is very displeased and that won’t do.

*Ahem*

So, I’ve been on a Cesare Aldo binge this year, as you might have noticed, and with each book, I’ve become increasingly more obsessed with the series. I read an ARC for A Divine Fury, but I still need to stress that you totally should get the audiobook versions (too) of these books. Seriously.

The year is 1539, Aldo is finally back in Florence, although he is stuck with night patrol duties while Strocchi is becoming one of the best investigators the Otto has. Obviously, Aldo is not happy with his status and so he is determined to become an officer once again. Finding a dead body next to the David statue in a position like Jesus on the cross, seem to provide that opportunity. While Strocchi and Aldo work on the case that’s becoming more and more tangled, they also work on their friendship. They still need to build up the trust lost between them, which is not easy as Aldo tends to follow his own ideas rather than follow instructions. On top of it all, Strocchi is also struggling with his role within the Otto. His strong sense of justice and his idealistic view of keeping the law clash with the reality of politics and a secretary who only cares about his own power and status. On one hand, the money he earns as an officer helps to provide for his growing family, but on the other, he feels trapped in a job that doesn’t meet with his morals and ideals. Which is pretty relatable, if you think about it. I like how these characters we’ve been following so far grow and evolve with each book.

“Strocchi grabbed Aldo’s arm. ‘What are you doing?’
‘Have I ever led you astray before?’
‘Frequently.’
Then you should be used to it by now,’ Aldo said with a smile.
‘This isn’t funny.’
‘Trust me, Carlo.'”

In A Divine Fury, Aldo and Strocchi investigate a series of murders that seemingly has no connection with each other, except for the way the bodies are treated – they are positioned like Jesus on the cross, their tongue is cut in half, and they appear to be strangled with something beaded. They also have ash on their forehead and a piece of paper in their pockets that seems to be from the book of an exorcist. One would say they investigate, in short, a serial murder case, but 1) the term is not known yet in this age and 2) technically you need 3 murders to be counted as a serial murder and there are only 2 here. Plus one and an attempt. Anyway. The only thing Aldo and Strocchi have to go with are the names of their victims – Zamora, a wealthy wool merchant who is well-liked in Florence, and Freccia, a thief who also used to sell his body, whom Aldo knows all too well as an officer.

This time we don’t know the killer or the motive, so we investigate along with Aldo and Strocchi, which I always find exciting, because I love collecting the clues and trying to figure out what happened. I mean, I read murder mysteries for a reason, duh. Bishop provides us with a couple of possible suspects, and handles them really well as I kept guessing until the reveal, because every time I thought “Okay, I think it was this person”, new information came up and made me doubt myself (damn you, Bishop for making me doubt myself, how very dare!).

As it happens with mystery books, we get a range of new side characters. First we have Father Negri, the exorcist, who has pretty, uh, “interesting” views on how the devil works and how demons appear to possess queer people (they are not called as such, of course, given the fact that the term wasn’t in use in the 16th century), and how an exorcism can make them change their ways. Which is pretty much an early version of conversion therapy and we all know how well that tends to go… Little surprise that he is not the most liked priest in town. Let’s take Vanni, who works in a tannery together with Freccia’s wife, who lost her brother not longer after Negri’s exorcism. And who is determined to go to anyone who might listen to her to complain about him and his church. There is also Father Zati, Negri’s assistant, who changed places quite a few times in the past, and whom we met already in The Darkest Sin, even if only fleetingly. I love how Bishop used events in that book to incorporate in Zati’s plotline. That was very smartly done, just as I love how Rebecca from City of Vengeance is still around, proving to be an intelligent and independent young woman. I really hope we’ll see more of her in the future.

And then, let’s say a few words about my new favorite character in this series – Contessa Coltello, who married a Venetian merchant, who was sent to Florence as a spy. Not that he himself did much spying, but you know how it is in male-dominated worlds – there is no way a woman could do a 100 times better job than an old privileged man. Obviously. And so when Venice has a new spymaster, the Contessa is facing the problem of being replaced. I was literally giddy with excitement to see what she’d figure out to literally hand the new guy his balls. It didn’t quite go as I hoped, but I shall give her credit for being smart about the whole business. I think that was probably my only disappointment with A Divine Fury. I wish I’d never have bigger problems, really. That said, I very much look forward to her future interactions with Aldo, because damn, those were highly entertaining.

I’m starting to feel like D. V. Bishop is unable to go wrong with this series, and A Divine Fury is another example of an excellent historical mystery novel. Please just hook me up and inject any further Cesare Aldo novels directly into my veins, because that’s how much I love them. Mr Bishop, if you ever find yourself in need of a beta reader, please remember me. Sincerely, an impatient fan who needs the next book right about now. *slinks off to wallow in despair until next time*

Our Judgement
Praise Their Name - 5 crowns

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