Gabriel Valjan returns this month with book five of his international “Roma” series. He has been touring with Italy Book Tours since October, so you can find lots of articles, reviews, and interviews with this popular author.
Alabaster Black, AKA Bianca Nerini, still appears to be on the run from her former association with Rendition in the latest book in the series. The previous books have seen our heroes through a variety of assignments that eventually have led them back to Italy. Barely there they are called back to Boston. Their friend, Clemente, a retired policeman, needs their help. With news that FBI agent has been found dead in an expensive apt, along with a young woman, the team quickly heads to the States.
Too soon thereafter, Clemente is taken quickly into custody by the police, suspected of the murders.
What happens then, when another man says he was on the scene? A schizophrenic, Special Forces veteran named Nick Adams claims close knowledge of the crime. Because he did it? He claims he receives his instructions from someone called the Magician. Is the Magician someone in the veteran’s mind or is he real?
Soon Bianca and her associates are wading into a world that includes politics, prostitution, military secrets, the Russian mafia, a deadly new drug, and men who will use whatever means necessary to get what they want.
Two online entities struggle for influence over Bianca. Her decision to trust one or the other could cost her life. Through it all runs Rendition, the company Alabaster/Bianca believes she has left behind. Yet it would seem wherever she goes, they are ahead of her, entwined with every investigation.
While the story may seem light at the beginning, it isn’t long before it becomes a complicated, twisted suspense. Lots of questions arise that you will want answered. Discovering who is involved, who is behind it, is essential. Yet why may be the biggest mystery of all.
The story is very entertaining on its own, but I think this is one that would be more satisfying read in order. The first, Roma, Underground LINK, introduces to Alabaster Black, now Bianca, working for Rendition. You grow to like her quickly, so it is a plus when you then read the future books in the series. It adds to the character development and understanding of the team as well.
Incidentally, you really shouldn’t read this book—or others in the series–while hungry. I’d nearly forgotten that from Roma, Underground. Descriptions of the food prepared and eaten are very effective. Delicious in any language!
A call for help from an old friend lands Bianca and the crew back in Boston. On a timeout with Dante, due to revelations in the aftermath of the showdown in Naples, Bianca is drawn to a mysterious new ally who understands the traumas of her past, and has some very real trauma of his own. Murder, designer drugs, and a hacker named Magician challenge our team, and Bianca learns that leaving Rendition behind might be much harder than she thinks.
Book Description for first four book in the series:
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.
“A provocative thriller with a riveting and surprising plot.”
—M.J. Rose, International bestseller
“…the strong, captivating heroine and an allure of conspiracy and organized crime make this novel an undoubted success.”
—Kirkus Book Reviews
“Conspiracy, double identities, car chases and espionage, all against the backdrop of magical Rome, with its great food and marvelous art history, make this an entertaining, intriguing read.”
—Blogcritics Book Reviews in Brief
In the highly anticipated sequel to Roma, Underground, Bianca returns to the U.S. for her former employer, the covert organization Rendition, to investigate Cyril Sargent and Nasonia Pharmaceutical. Although ambivalent about the assignment and uneasy about her online “friend,” Loki, she is enticed into researching what Sargent is doing with insect genetics that might upset the world of cancer research and treatment. Old friends Farrugia and Gennaro uncover a twisted conspiracy from their past and join Bianca in Boston where they will experience conflicted loyalties, question allies, and confront uncertain enemies, as they’re drawn into the wasp’s nest.
“Again, Valjan successfully conflates multiple sophisticated narratives that bring the past and present together, which the archaeological theme of the last novel also helps accomplish . . . Black is back and just as entertaining as ever.”
—Kirkus Book Reviews
“…a compelling reading, action-packed and with intriguing characters. The plot had plenty of twists and turns, some surprising secrets, and it kept me on the edge of my seat, guessing until the very end.”
—The Book Junkie
Milan. Bianca’s curiosity gets a young university student murdered, but not before he gives her a file that details a secret weapon under development with defense contractor Adastra. Guilt may drive her to find justice for the slain Charlie Brooks, but she is warned by the mysterious Loki to stay away from this case that runs deep with conspiracy. Bianca must find a way to uncover government secrets and corporate alliances without returning Italy to one of its darkest hours, the decades of daily terrorism known as the “Years of Lead.”
“It is even more to Gabriel Valjan’s credit that with Threading the Needle he, as an American, was nonetheless capable of unusual insight into the Misteri Italiani, the Italian Mysteries, without taking any prejudicial standpoint, one way or the other, or putting the blame on anyone, but rather inviting readers to judge for themselves.”
—Claudio Ferrara, Italian journalist and translator
“But after the first few pages, I knew I was committed to the end of the book … and would be reading the two earlier books…Characters, plot, ideas, background: In Threading the Needle, Valjan weaves it all into an international crime novel worth the read.”
—Beth Kannell of Kingdom Books, a specialty mystery bookshop in northeastern Vermont.
Forensic accountant Alabaster Black has always been steps ahead of her former employer, Rendition, a clandestine and apparently lethal organization. Once the star investigator of financial crimes, she fled from the United States to Italy, under a new name: Bianca Nerini. She carries on her work with a group of trusted friends, although a mysterious contact by the name of Loki reaches out to her on occasion. In this fourth installment, Bianca is in Naples against the Camorra, a crime syndicate unlike the American or Sicilian mafia.
Oct 3 – Library of Clean Reads– spotlight on Roma series / giveaway
Oct 3 – Working Mommy Journal– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway
Oct 3 – Celticlady’s Reviews– review of Roma Underground / giveaway
Oct 4 – Essentially Italian– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway
Oct 4 – Pure Jonel– review of Corporate Citizen / guest post / giveaway
Oct 5 – Book Review Nature Pictures– review of Roma Underground / interview
Oct 5 – XoXo Book Blog– book spotlight
Oct 6 – Il Mio Tesoro– review of Corporate Citizen / author interview
Oct 6 – Writers and Authors– book spotlight / guest post
Oct 7 – Heidi’s Wanderings– review of Roma Underground / giveaway
Oct 10 – My Journey Back– review of Roma Underground / author interview / giveaway
Oct 11 – Bookishly Devoted– review of Roma Underground
Oct 12 – The Autistic Gamer– review of Corporate Citizen
Oct 13 – Books for Books– review of Roma Underground / guest post
Oct 13 – Vic’s Media Room– review of Corporate Citizen
Oct 14 – The Silver Dagger Scriptorium– book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 17 – My Journey Back– review of Wasp’s Nest / giveaway
Oct 18 – Heidi’s Wanderings– review of Wasp’s Nest / giveaway
Oct 19 – A Mama’s Corner of the World– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway
Oct 19 – Nighttime Reading Center– review of Roma Underground / interview / giveaway
Oct 20 – fundinmental– review of Roma Underground / giveaway
Oct 21 – T’s Stuff– book spotlight / author interview / giveaway
Oct 24 – Book Review Nature Pictures– review of Wasp’s Nest
Oct 24 – My Journey Back– review of Threading the Needle / giveaway
Oct 25 – Books for Books– review of Wasp’s Nest
Oct 26 – Library of Clean Reads– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway
Oct 27 – StoreyBook Reviews– book spotlight / guest post / giveaway
Oct 27 – fundinmental– review of Wasp’s Nest / giveaway
Oct 28 – Olio by Marilyn– review of Corporate Citizen
Oct 31 – Celticlady’s Reviews– review of Wasp’s Nest / giveaway
Nov 1 – Book Review Nature Pictures– review of Threading the Needle
Nov 1 – Sylv all about books and films– book spotlight / giveaway
Nov 2 – Nighttime Reading Center– review of Wasp’s Nest/ giveaway
Nov 2 – Roughseasinthemed– review of Corporate Citizen
Nov 3 – Heidi’s Wanderings– review of Threading the Needle / giveaway
Nov 4 – Bookishly Devoted– review of Wasp’s Nest
Nov 7 – My Journey Back– review of Turning to Stone/ giveaway
Nov 7 – Deal Sharing Aunt– review of Corporate Citizen / author interview / giveaway
Nov 8 – Bound 4 Escape– review of Corporate Citizen
Nov 9 – Books for Books– review of Threading the Needle
Nov 10 – fundinmental– review of THreading the Needle / giveaway
Nov 11 – Celticlady’s Reviews– review of Threading the Needle / giveaway
Nov 14 – Book Review Nature Pictures– review of Turning to Stone
Nov 14 – Book and Ink– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway
Nov 15 – My Journey Back– review of Corporate Citizen/ giveaway
Nov 16 – Nighttime Reading Center– review of Threading the Needle/ giveaway
Nov 17 – Mystery Suspense Reviews– review of Roma Underground
Nov 18 – Heidi’s Wanderings– review of Turning to Stone / giveaway
Nov 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews– review of Turning to Stone / giveaway
Nov 22 – Mystery Suspense Reviews– guest post
Nov 23 – Books for Books– review of Turning to Stone
Nov 24 – fundinmental– review of Turning to Stone / giveaway
Nov 25 – Bookishly Devoted– review of Threading the Needle
Nov 28 – Book Review Nature Pictures– review of Corporate Citizen
Nov 29 – Heidi’s Wanderings– review of Corporate Citizen/ giveaway
Nov 30 – Nighttime Reading Center– review of Turning to Stone / giveaway
Dec 1 – Bookishly Devoted– review of Turning to Stone
Dec 2 – Jaquo Lifestyle Magazine– review of Corporate Citizen
Dec 5 – Celticlady’s Reviews– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway
Dec 6 – Books for Books– review of Corporate Citizen
Dec 7 – Nighttime Reading Center– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway
Dec 8 – fundinmental– review of Corporate Citizen / giveaway