The second installment in Jonathan Holt's Carnivia trilogy, "The Abduction" is out as the author sets his pen to target the war on terror and the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques." (HarperCollins/458 pages)
Col. Aldo Piola of the Venice Carabinieri is summoned to investigate human remains found during construction on an American base. The skeleton was that of Max Ghimenti, a communist partisan thought to have been killed by the Germans during the last days of the Second World War.
Things become even more difficult for the Venetian Carabinieri when Piola's subordinate and former lover, Captain Kat Tapo, is recruited by Second Lieutenant Holly Boland to help find the young daughter of an American officer who has gone missing after visiting a swinger's club.
The 16-year-old girl has been snatched by a militant group, Azione Dal Molin, who are opposed to the expansion of an American base. The kidnappers have access to Carnivia, the computer generated world that is the creation of hacker Daniele Barbo, and they broadcast sessions of the "enhanced interrogation" of their hostage, Mia Elston using the same techniques perfected by the CIA.
Holt lets his reader know that there can be no doubt that "enhanced interrogation" is simply torture by another name.
With an appreciation of Italian history and culture, Holt makes a case for the proposition that "Italy was the battleground where the Cold War was fought."
There is historical evidence that the Roman Catholic Church and CIA collaborated to create a left of center party (the Christian Democrats) as a counter to the communist party which was active in Northern Italy as a means to limit the Iron Curtain to Yugoslavia and keep Italy within the Western sphere of influence.
That Giovanni Montini (the future Pope Paul VI) was an ardent anti-communist is well known, which serves as fodder for the author's imagination and the "secret" documents referred to in this work.
The current war on terror has an ugly side which takes the form in alliances with drug lords, extradition and imprisonment without trial, and torture, which the author describes in this eye opening political thriller.
Although it might seem minor compared to the human tragedies of war, this reader wishes that the cuisine of Venice might entertain more vegetarian dishes. How can anyone consider the gentle donkey or noble horse a delicacy? Seriously, one should serve eggplant not equus with the pasta.
In his first two chapters of the Carnivia trilogy, Holt has exposed the exploitation of women and the dark side of the war on terror, which leads one to wonder what secrets and scandals of the Veneto region will be unearthed in his final chapter?