Il Mostro de Firenze

While on my trek to Miami, I listened to an audio book best seller called "The Monster of Florence" written by Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi. I was fascinated by this true tale about a serial killer that terrorized the Italian city of Florence from the late 60's until the early 1980's and claimed the lives of 16 victims, most of which were lovers who were murdered during the heat of passion while parked in cars out in the surrounding areas of Florence. The police investigation spanned nearly 20 years with multiple arrests and evidence trails that lead to places that were far from the city of Florence, to places like the mountains of Sardinia. The investigation affected many people and led to false arrests, suicides, gay scandals, botched crime scene investigations, police cover ups, false accusations and outright witch hunts where neighbor turned in neighbor out of paranoid fear.
I was surprised by the fact that that all of this took place over such a long period, much like the BTK killer in the U.S., but also by the fact that little of this was known to be happening. The American public really didn't pay much attention to it and also the city of Florence wanted it to be kept quiet so as not to frighten its many visitors who vacation in Tuscany.
To this day, the mystery has never been solved and no final arrest was made. The killings stopped in the mid 1980's. The author worked closely with Mario Spezi, who was the journalist and private investigator that covered the case from start to finish. The author claims that new evidence has come to light and that he knows who the real killer is.
Bits and pieces from the killings were used in the film "Silence of the Lambs" and "Hannibal." In fact, the character Hannibal Lecter was loosely based on Il Mostro. The real killings were quite grisly in nature. The killer would spy on lovers who were parked in cars, which apparently was quite the pass time in the city of Florence, and would shoot the male victim through the car window, then shoot the female victim, drag her from the car, and would take her left breast and genital area as a trophy. The killer always struck on a Saturday night while there was a full moon during the summer months and each summer left the city in a state of fear waiting for the next slaying to take place.
This is a great book, a fascinating real life crime story, and is now being made into a movie with George Clooney in a lead role. The movie is set to be released in 2012. If you get a chance check it out!

Douglas Preston and Mario Spezi
Check out the link below for timelines, maps, and detailed info about the real investigation.


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