MICHAEL GREGORIO SERIES:

    HS01 - Critique of Criminal Reason

      Michael Gregorio

HS01 - Critique of Criminal Reason

Most honourable Procurator Stiffeniis,
You talents have been brought to Our attention by a gentleman of eminence, who believes that you alone are capable of resolving a situation which holds Our beloved Königsberg in a grip of terror. All Our faith and consideration are due to the notable personage who suggested your name, and that same faith and consideration now resides in you. We have no reason to doubt that you will accept this Royal Commission, and act accordingly with all haste. The fate of the city lies in your hands.
--King Frederick Wilhelm III

It has been years since Immanuel Kant's landmark philosophical work, Critique of Pure Reason, brought him fame throughout Europe and made him Königsberg's best-known citizen. Now, rumors have begun to surface of a new work by this aging but still acute mind. Yet unlike his earlier work, this book will not examine the mind of the average man, but the mind of the serial killer.

Hanno Stiffeniis, a young magistrate, has been called to Königsberg to assist in the investigation of an enigmatic string of murders. Is it part of a plot formed by Napoleon's spies to undermine the Prussian king or the work of a solitary, unknown killer? The case would seem unsolvable, were it not for the assistance and unmatched intellect of his mentor, Immanuel Kant. Together Stiffeniis and the elderly, eccentric philosopher must track down the killer who has the city of Königsberg by the throat.
Hugely atmospheric, entertaining, and intelligent, Critique of Criminal Reason marks the outstanding debut of a new name in historical fiction.

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    HS03 - A Visible Darkness

      Michael Gregorio

HS03 - A Visible Darkness

Prussia has been overrun by Napoleon’s forces, and the Emperor’s troops have discovered a new source of funds there: enough amber to finance France’s wars. But their plans stall when the girls who collect the stones begin to disappear, only to be found gruesomely disfigured by an unknown killer. The French call upon Prussian investigator Hanno Stiffeniis, who must seek out the culprit knowing hat his own success may doom his country’s future. Dark, intelligent, and vividly written, A Visible Darkness continues a masterful series of historical mysteries that portray a past torn between nationalism and humanism, superstition and science.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Set in 1808, the superb third whodunit from the pseudonymous Gregorio (the husband-wife team of Michael G. Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio) to feature Prussian magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis (after 2008's Days of Atonement) subtly probes the heart of human darkness. When a woman who collects precious amber, a resource Napoleon hopes to use to generate funds, is horribly butchered, Stiffeniis must work for his French occupiers to solve the mystery. As more victims follow the first, Stiffeniis's hopes of a speedy resolution that would enable him to be present for his latest child's birth are dashed. Aided by Johannes Gurten, an odd apprentice who's adopted Buddhism, the sleuth attempts to get cooperation from those working at all levels of the amber trade to identify the killer's true motive. While some readers will anticipate the solution, the pitch-perfect evocation of the period and the compelling, gloomy atmosphere more than compensate for any lack of surprise. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Upon finishing this third mystery featuring nineteenth-century Prussian magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis, readers are likely to give thanks for modern medicine and hygiene. As a serial killer methodically hacks and slices his (or her) way along the Amber Coast of the Baltic Sea, Gregorio takes every opportunity to supply vivid descriptions—not just of the killer’s handiwork, but also of various unpleasant anatomical inner workings. Amid the viscera, there is a crime to solve. With his wife due to deliver their fourth child and the Napoleonic Wars raging, Stiffeniis is called away to Nordcopp, where he is charged with finding the person responsible for murdering an amber collector. Unfortunately, his investigative talents, learned in Critique of Criminal Reason (2006) from no less than Immanuel Kant, cannot prevent further grisly deaths. Gregorio uses the idea of amber as a metaphor to evoke the passion of those who trade the stones as well as to suggest the evil strength and perverted intelligence of his villain, a horrifying blend of Hannibal Lecter and Joseph Mengele. Philosophy and chemistry run amok in this intelligent, compelling, but definitely difficult-to-read thriller. --Jen Baker

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    HS04 - Unholy Awakening

      Michael Gregorio

HS04 - Unholy Awakening

A woman’s body has been found at the bottom of a well. The death wounds are startling: two small, round punctures to the jugular vein. . . .

Vampire fever is spreading throughout the countryside, and suspicions soon fall on the recently arrived Emma Rimmele. Investigator Hanno Stiffeniis must do everything he can to find the true culprit before the mob’s hysteria reaches its breaking point and turns violent.

Set in a nineteenth-century world where people truly believed in vampires, Unholy Awakening pits rational, scientific detection against unhindered, violent superstition.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. At the start of Gregorio's stellar fourth historical featuring Prussian magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis (after 2009's A Visible Darkness), Hanno and his wife are struggling to go on after an epidemic in their hometown of Lotingen claims the life of their infant son. When the body of seamstress Angela Enke turns up at the bottom of a well with two circular wounds in her neck, Hanno sets aside his grief to investigate. His efforts to interrogate the enigmatic Emma Rimmele, the victim's employer and a newcomer to the town, are derailed by his attraction to her. Meanwhile, the locals leap to the conclusion that a vampire is responsible for the murder, and that Angela herself will soon rise from her grave to prey on them. Once again, Gregorio (the pen name of Michael G. Jacob and Daniela De Gregorio) conjures up a pervasive atmosphere of fear and menace, while using the plot line to provide insights into the mind and heart of his complicated lead.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Rumors of vampires are rife inthis lengthy fourth addition to Gregorio’s Magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis mystery series set in Napoleonic Prussia. Lotingen, Hanno’s plague-beleaguered hometown, suffers not only the deadly virus that took Hanno’s baby but also attacks of wild dogs attracted by the smell of death. Add to that dismal miasma the whiff of murder: a young seamstress is found in a well, having bled to death from a double-pronged neck wound. And she is just the first. The villagers blame newcomers to town, Emma Rimmele and her elderly father. Hanno applies steady logic to rumors of supernatural evil but is pressured by town politics and deep-set superstition. Unfortunately, each time Hanno stops to reflect, the pace drags. In addition, the whodunit is virtually solved early on; the historical setting is sadly neglected; and near escapes don’t create enough tension to hold the reader’s attention. Comparisons to the supernatural element in Dan Simmons’ Drood (2009) and to the psychological exploration and pacing of Ruth Rendell are apt, however, and those who enjoy the intellectual trappings with which Gregorio wraps his stories will be pleased with this package. --Jen Baker

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    Cry Wolf

      Michael Gregorio

Cry Wolf

Introducing resourceful park ranger Sebastiano Cangio in the first of a brand-new crime series set against the glorious landscape of Italy's Umbria region.
Sebastiano Cangio has just accepted his dream job as a park ranger in the stunning Sybilline Mountains National Park in central Italy; it's a unique opportunity to study and live amongst the wild mountain wolves he loves so much. But when a series of devastating earthquakes rocks the region, the dream looks set to become a nightmare.
With the area evacuated, the Mafia seize their chance to move in to pursue their own sinister agenda - and Sebastiano finds himself the only person in a position to stop them. As he embarks on a lone mission to protect the beautiful, unspoiled landscape and ensure the survival of the wolf pack, Sebastiano finds himself up against a menacing trail of corruption: a trail that leads all the way to the top.
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    HS02 - Days of Atonement

      Michael Gregorio

HS02 - Days of Atonement

“Be very careful, sir!” the young officer warned. “Colonel Lavedrine is a guest of this house, and this nation. I can hardly believe that any Prussian would be so foolhardy to doubt his word. Every man in Paris has heard of his capacities. I see no reason why this Professor Kant of yours should not have heard of them, too.”

Lavedrine sat back in his seat, a thin smile on his lips, stroking his chin with his thumb and forefinger. He seemed to be scrutinizing me, curious to hear what my reply would be.

“If Colonel Lavedrine can prove the truth of what he says,” I returned, glancing between my accuser and the man I had accused, “I will apologize with all my heart. And if that apology does not satisfy him,” I added, leaning back in my chair, shrugging my shoulder, “the prison cells are waiting for Prussians such as me, who are obliged to have guests such as you!”

I suddenly realized that the room was silent.

It is 1807 and Napoleon’s army has swept over Prussia, leaving in its wake a conquered land occupied by the French. Local magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis has retreated to his home in the countryside in the hopes that he can keep himself away from the scrutiny of the occupying forces. But when Serge Lavedrine, Paris’s famed criminologist, requires his services, Stiffeniis has little choice but to accept.

Three children have been found massacred in their beds. Their mother has disappeared without a trace. Terrified by the gruesome murders, the local townspeople have become convinced that the crimes are the work of the local Jewish population. The ghetto has been closed off, but the crowds gathered in the streets are desperate for justice of any kind. The French authorities want nothing more than a quick resolution and an end to the hysteria that has gripped the town.

Stiffeniis has his own reasons for accepting the case. The victims’ father serves as a soldier in remote Kamentz, where the resistance to Napoleon’s occupation is already developing. If Stiffeniis cannot discover the whereabouts of the mother and the identity of the murderer in time, he risks exposing the Prussian rebellion to the French before it has the strength to succeed. To succeed he must once again put to use the powers of deduction learned from his late teacher, the famed philosopher Immanuel Kant.

Michael Gregorio’s internationally bestselling debut, Critique of Criminal Reason, was hailed by critics across the world and named one of Playboy’s Best Books of 2006. Now its sequel, Days of Atonement, marks the thrilling return of one the most talented new voices in historical fiction.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. A few years after the traumatic events in Critique of Criminal Reason (2006), Napoleon Bonaparte's troops still occupy Prussia in Gregorio's outstanding second historical. The residents of Lotingen who haven't fled their homes, including magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis and his family, live in a constant state of fear. A chance encounter at a formal dinner with Colonel Lavedrine—a French officer interested in criminology—leads Stiffeniis, who learned a novel approach to criminal investigation from legendary philosopher Immanuel Kant in Critique, to look into the gruesome murder of the three small children of Prussian Maj. Bruno Gottewald and the disappearance of his wife. When Stiffeniis travels to the military garrison where Gottewald is posted to inform him of his loss, the sleuth finds that the major has also been killed. Gregorio again demonstrates a rare gift for constructing a compelling whodunit rich with the kinds of psychological insights typical of the work of such contemporary crime masters as Ruth Rendell and Minette Walters. Readers will race through the pages to reach the solution. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Starred Review “Kant dared to hypothesize the unthinkable.” In this enthralling sequel to Critique of Criminal Reason (2006), Kant’s intellectual daring inspires not one but two sleuths investigating an unthinkable atrocity. For when a mother and her two children are found dead, their corpses curiously aligned on a cottage bed, the perplexed Prussian magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis (familiar to readers of Critique) must proceed cautiously. Napoleon’s stunning recent victory at Jena compels him to collaborate with Colonel Lavedrine, one of the hated French authorities now governing his conquered land. When Lavedrine reveals his own earlier correspondence with Stiffeniis’ mentor, Kant, the search for the killer turns into a taut contest, as each detective strives to establish himself as the true heir of the brilliant philosopher’s criminological logic. But logic crumbles when clues at the strangely sanitized crime scene send the dueling detectives on a frustrating search for the dead mother’s missing husband. In their arduous search for answers, the reluctant partners cross paths with a brutal gang of bandits, a cowardly undertaker, and a secretive Jewish scholar. The vertiginous plot twists ultimately validate a Kantian wisdom that defies the grave. Fusing philosophical insight with psychological subtlety, Gregorio endows an often-predictable genre with remarkable substance. --Bryce Christensen

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    Lone Wolf

      Michael Gregorio

Lone Wolf

The discovery of a mutilated body near Stansted airport leads the British police to Perugia, Italy, in the gripping new Sebastiano Cangio thriller.

When a badly burned and mutilated body is discovered near Stansted airport, a single piece of evidence leads the police to Perugia, Italy. As he knows the region better than anyone, park ranger Sebastiano Cangio is assigned to assist British detective Desmond Harris in his efforts to uncover the dead man's identity, and to find out what he was doing in Perugia.

Meanwhile, it would appear that something monstrous is on the loose in the forests of Umbria. Livestock is found ripped apart; unearthly screams are heard at night. Could there be any truth to the rumours of werewolves?

Sebastiano is more concerned at uncovering evidence of the return of the dreaded 'ndrangheta, the most feared criminal organization in Italy. They've tried to kill him before. And Seb knows they will try to kill him again
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    Think Wolf

      Michael Gregorio

Think Wolf

The second compelling thriller to feature resourceful park ranger Sebastiano Cangio, set against the glorious landscape of Italy's Umbria region.
When the headless body of his fellow park ranger is found amidst the wooded hills of the Sybilline Mountains National Park, Sebastiano Cangio is convinced that he himself was the intended target. But what was Marzio doing out there on his own at dead of night? Is there any truth behind the wild stories of elves and goblins being seen in the surrounding forest?
Dismissive of the rumours of black magic and Satanism, Cangio is convinced that Marzio's death heralds the return of the 'ndrangheta, the most formidable criminal organization in Italy. If he is to escape their clutches a second time and uncover the truth about his colleague's death, Cangio must take the initiative, draw on his finely-honed survival instincts and ... think wolf.
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