About the Book
Savvy forensic accountant Alabaster Black is hiding in Rome from her former employer, covert U.S. organization “Rendition.” While there under an assumed name she meets Dante, an investigator, erstwhile explorer and member of the Roma Underground, a band of amateur archaeologists who map the city beneath Rome. With Italian artifacts disappearing at an alarming rate, Alabaster and Dante search for answers and create a trap for the thieves. Through a mysterious online contact Alabaster learns she is being followed, and with her safety at risk she is forced to rethink her chosen alliances and discover hidden truths about herself.
I received a free ecopy of this book for an honest review.
Roma, Underground is about Alabaster Black, aka Bianca Nerini, a genius forensic accountant who is in hiding. She is tempted to run again because she thinks they have found her but she decides to stay and take the risk because she and her new friend, Dante, have come across a mystery that is just down her alley. She can’t resist helping him figure it out.
There are some interesting and unique characters. Bianca is a strong, smart woman who has been alone for a long time and has difficulty trusting anyone. Dante is almost too much of a gentleman, which is so out of character for an Italian! There are quite a few characters, all pretty unique, but my favorite has to be Silvio, a co-worker of Dante’s who is trying to learn English. He doesn’t quite have it down yet, though. A good example is when his boss had a phone call: “…I have him holding himself on line two.”
Gabriel Valjan has incorporated Italian history and cuisine in Roma, Underground which, I believe, many readers will enjoy. I’m not one for detailed descriptions, especially of food, but that’s a personal preference. There are some twists and a good mystery, or two, and a great last line. I’m looking forward to reading Wasp’s Nest, the next book in the series.
About the Author
Gabriel Valjan lives in New England, but has traveled extensively, receiving his undergraduate education in California and completing graduate school in England. Ronan Bennett short-listed him for the 2010 Fish Short Story Prize for his Boston noir, Back in the Day. His short stories and poetry have appeared in literary journals and online magazines.