In a quiet village surrounded by centuries-old woods and the imposing Italian Alps, a series of violent assaults take place.
Police inspector and profiler Teresa Battaglia is called back from the city when the first body is found in the woods, a naked man whose face has been disfigured and eyes gouged out. Teresa quickly realises that the killer intends to strike again, and soon more victims are found - all having been subjected to horrendous mutilations. When a new-born baby is kidnapped, Teresa's investigation becomes a race against the clock...
But Teresa is also fighting a different kind of battle: a battle against her own body, weighed down by age and diabetes, and her mind, once invincible and now slowly gnawing away at her memory...
Something devastating has taken place here in these mountains. Something that requires all my investigative abilities. My name is Teresa Battaglia, I am a police chief inspector, specialised in profiling, and I walk through hell every day. It's not my gun, nor my uniform: my real weapon is my mind.
Yet my mind is failing me. Not my body, weathered by the passing of time, nor my tormented heart.
My name is Teresa Battaglia, I have a secret that I dare not reveal even to myself, and for the first time in my life I am afraid".
Read by Anna Bentinck
(p) Orion Publishing Group 2019
Creepy and evocative... but what gives this novel particular appeal is the sixty-something central character, whose abrasive manner hides a warm heart — Guardian
This book has all the right ingredients: a brilliant protagonist, an eerie setting and a community hiding dark secrets — Dead Good (Debut crime novels to watch out for in 2019)
The first volume in an Italian trilogy with these two characters proves a fast, enjoyable read with all the right police procedural elements, monsters in plain sight and even killers who might intriguingly provoke some form of sympathy amongst the reader, a clockwork plot and a suitable sense of place which verges on both the ominous and the exotic, this was a major hit back in its own country and one understands why. Impeccable crime writing. — CRIME TIME
If you are looking for a chilling murder mystery set in a landscape so majestic that it takes your breath away and fills your soul, head off to the Alps with the intriguing Detective Superintendent Teresa Battaglia, an Italian police chief who is set to give Tyneside's Vera a run for her money... Flowers Over the Inferno is Ilaria Tuti's stunning and atmospheric debut novel - translated into English by the talented Ekin Olap - and the first book in the Teresa Battaglia trilogy. Tuti lives in Friuli, in the far north-east of Italy, and she has harnessed all the harsh, wild beauty of this mountainous region near the border with Austria for a bone-chilling story of dark crimes and hidden evils festering in a small, claustrophobic community... Tuti's fast-paced, taut and gripping thriller has more than a touch of creepy Gothic as the Alpine scenery becomes the jaw-dropping stage set for a gruesome murder mystery where nature is red in tooth and claw, and a deadly menace threatens to engulf a village with too many destructive secrets... The battling Teresa Battaglia is the undoubted star of the show, a charming enigma who fills the pages with her compassion, good sense, empathy and tenacity but who can put a person in their place with either a look or a word... Her crusty sarcasm and razor sharpness hides a lonely, fast-ageing woman who refuses to surrender to her mental and physical vulnerabilities and instead uses every ounce of her determination and inner strength to fight on... Exciting, ice-coated, chilling and thrilling, Flowers Over the Inferno welcomes readers to the deepest, darkest shades of Italian Noir. — Lancashire Post
Ilaria Tuti's Flowers Over the Inferno is a stunning debut; a deliciously dark and action-packed thriller that is also deeply moving, even profound. With a heroine unlike any other and a beautifully crafted sense of place, Tuti's gorgeous prose paints a compelling portrait of a small Alpine town's secrets and the woman tasked with uncovering them. I loved this book — Karen Dionne, internationally bestselling author of HOME
Tuti has managed the near impossible in creating a genuinely unique character in Teresa Battaglia. I was rooting for her from the start as she expertly steers a creepy murder investigation in an atmospheric Alpine setting — Sarah Ward, author of IN BITTER CHILL
I loved Flowers Over the Inferno with its beautifully creepy setting - and I totally fell for the tough-but-vulnerable detective, Teresa Battaglia. Great to see an older woman in this role. — Roz Watkins, author of THE DEVIL'S DICE
Teresa Battaglia is one of the most interesting detectives to emerge in recent years; flawed but full of heart, sarcastic yet still commanding loyalty from her team. Flowers Over The Inferno is an astonishing debut. — M. W. Craven, author of THE PUPPET SHOW
With Teresa Battaglia, Ilaria Tuti hasn't just created a mere character, but an authentic, three-dimensional person who overbearingly pushes the boundaries of the printed page thanks to her immense energy. Teresa Battaglia is the best gift any author can offer his or her readers: someone they will come to care for — Donato Carrisi, author of THE GIRL IN THE FOG
The writer, like the killer and detective, is perfectly at ease in the Friuli environment, and knows how to render its profile, its iciness, its woods and swarming wild animals in a way that leaves the reader with a feeling of warmth. — Corriere della Sera
The most awaited (female) noir debut of 2018 in Italy. — Repubblica
A story full of dramatic turns of events; the writing is tight and fast, and makes the most of the environment it depicts; the mountains, primitive nature and the woods — Wired Italia
A thriller that enters into the corners of the soul and introduces an author to watch. — Marie Claire (Italy)
Superintendent Teresa Battaglia is an Italian cop in her mid-sixties and as such a rather unique character in crime fiction where the leading protagonists are normally younger. She's overweight, diabetic and has been saddled with a new, younger sidekick, city inspector Massimo Marini which whom she initially doesn't hit it off too well despite all his own goodwill. A naked man with his eyes gouged out is found in an isolated forest and the two conflicting cops are assigned the case, which inevitably becomes so much more complicated when echoes from the past swiftly intervene in the investigation. The first volume in an Italian trilogy with these two characters proves a fast, enjoyable read with all the right police procedural elements, monsters in plain sight and even killers who might intriguingly provoke some form of sympathy amongst the reader, a clockwork plot and a suitable sense of place which verges on both the ominous and the exotic, this was a major hit back in its own country and one understands why. Impeccable crime writing. — Crime Time