Book Blurb

What is the difference between dedication and obsession?

While investigating the murder of two known offenders with connections to a notorious,

recently escaped London drug trafficker, the Scotland Yard forensic team headed by DCI Eric Shaw

becomes involved in a child abuse case. A nurse had accused a mother of a series of violent,

feverish attacks on her ten-year-old son, Jimmy. The woman would exasperate the condition of her

child to draw the attention and compassion of health workers at the hospital.

Eric learned of this accusation by chance because he is dating Catherine Foulger, the paediatrician

looking after the child. She is an old flame, and he is seeing her again in the hope of putting some

order back in his life after discovering the identity of the serial killer nicknamed Black Death.

But this is a relationship his former partner Adele Pennington, still working as an investigator in

Forensic Services, has not really accepted.

DCI Eric Shaw returns.

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‘You people are murderers, all of you! Since you can’t take my son away from me, you’re trying to kill him!’

He recognised that voice even before he saw its owner. They were in the paediatric ward and that was Mrs Turner, the same one who had gone ballistic in the A&E that morning.

In front of her was the same nurse, the gossipy-looking one who, standing between her and a door, prevented her from going in. Another security guard was gently holding her by an arm. His gaze turned to his colleague, coming with PC Sharma, suggested relief. It was understandable. He didn’t belong to law enforcement and must have known that crossing some lines could cause him legal problems. The presence of the police changed everything.

At once she yanked her arm away, succeeding in escaping the hold, and hit the nurse in the face. The latter lost her balance and slammed her head against the wall, producing a dull thud, then collapsed on the floor. Turner made to attack the other woman again, when the two guards and PC Sharma hurled themselves and stopped her.

At which point, her screaming became louder. ‘You all agree with that. Even the police! Bloody bastards!’

As he approached them, Eric watched astonished; three men hardly restraining a woman much smaller than them. She was like a wild animal.

Her eyes met his, and a hint of recognition lit them, causing her to desist from fighting. Then she showed him her teeth, leaning forward with her head, as if she was snarling at him. The fluorescent lamp above her flickered, but the light coming from the adjacent room hit her full in the face. Her pupils were so dilated that the iris had turned into a thin grey circle. She was under the influence of some medication or drug.

‘I’m Detective Chief Inspector Eric Shaw. Would someone please tell me what’s going on here?’ he asked the nurse. Jane was helping her up.

‘Oh, detective!’ The flaunted surprise on the woman’s face reminded him that of stage actors. ‘The police listen to me, at last. I told your colleague this woman is dangerous, but he didn’t take me seriously.’ Blood was oozing from a bruising on her cheek. She tried to wipe it with a hand, but ended up spreading it all over her face.

Jane frowned. ‘What colleague? What’s she talking about?’ She’d addressed the last question to her boss.

Voices raised in alarm, coming from the room, prevented Eric from trying to find an answer. He immediately noticed Catherine leaning over the bed next to the door. With the help of another nurse, she was performing manual ventilation on a child with an Ambu bag.

‘Get out of the way!’ a voice behind him said, then he was pushed aside by another doctor and a nurse dragging an emergency trolley.

As they entered the room, a cry turned his attention back to the corridor.

‘Fuck!’ PC Sharma exclaimed. Blood was streaming from his nose. He slammed Turner against the wall and started handcuffing her.

Totally out of control, the woman was shouting nonsensical words.

‘How bad is her son?’ Eric asked the nurse, but the answer became clear to him a moment later, as he followed, mesmerised, the resuscitation procedure.

They’d taken off the child’s top, and the doctor who’d just arrived was already holding the defibrillator plates. ‘Clear!’

Catherine and the nurse on the opposite side of the bed moved aside, while her colleague placed the plates on the patient’s chest. His body had a start. Everyone turned to the ECG display, where the tracing had gone from irregular oscillations to a peak. Now it’d gone down again, becoming flat. A very long second passed, then it came up, tracing the familiar sequence of waves and intervals of a regular heartbeat.

The breath Eric had held back without knowing it broke free, leaving him with an unpleasant shivering.

‘This isn’t her son,’ the nurse beside Jane said. She pointed inside the room, towards a curtain at the end of which a bed stuck out. ‘Jimmy is the other child. She’s so wasted she didn’t even recognise her own son and tried to kill someone else’s.’


 Author Bio 

Rita Carla Francesca Monticelli is an Italian science fiction and thriller author. 

She has lived in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy) since 1993, earning a degree in biology and working as a writer, scientific and literary translator, and freelance web copywriter. In the past she also worked as researcher, tutor and professor’s assistant in the field of ecology at ‘Dipartimento di Biologia Animale ed Ecologia’ of the University of Cagliari.

She has written original fiction since 2009.

In 2012-2013 she wrote and published a hard science fiction series set on Mars and titled Deserto rosso. The whole Deserto rosso series was also published as omnibus in December 2013 and hit No. 1 on the Italian Kindle Store in November 2014.

Deserto rosso was published in English, with the title Red Desert, between 2014 and 2015.

It includes the following books: Red Desert - Point of No Return, Red Desert - People of Mars, Red Desert - Invisible Enemy, and Red Desert - Back Home. She also authored three crime thrillers in the Detective Eric Shaw Trilogy – The Mentor (Il mentore, 2014), Syndrome (Sindrome, 2016), and Beyond the Limit (Oltre il limite, 2017) –, an action thriller titled Kindred Intentions (Affinità d’intenti, 2015), five more science fiction novels – L’isola di Gaia (2014), Per caso (2015), Ophir. Codice vivente (2016), Sirius. In caduta libera (2018), and Nave stellare Aurora (2020) – and a non-fiction book titled Self-publishing lab. Il mestiere dell’autoeditore (2020). 

Her crime thriller The Mentor was first published in English by AmazonCrossing in 2015 and became an international bestseller hitting No. 1 on the Kindle Store in USA, UK, and Australia in October 2015.  

This is a new edition of The Mentor (published in November 2022). The other two books in the trilogy, Syndrome and Beyond the Limit, are expected in 2023.

She’s also a podcaster at FantascientifiCast, an Italian podcast about science fiction, an Italian Representative of Mars Initiative, and a member of the International Thriller Writers organization.

She’s often a guest both in Italy and abroad during book fairs, including Salone Internazionale del Libro di Torino (Turin Book Fair) and Frankfurter Buchmesse (Frankfurt Book Fair), local publishing events as well as university conferences, where she gives speeches about self-publishing and genre fiction writing. She has also taught a class on self-publishing at the University of Insubria (Varese, Italy) since 2016. 

Her books have been reviewed or recommended by national magazines and newspapers such as Wired Italia, Tom’s Hardware Italia, La Repubblica, Tiscali News and Global Science (magazine of the Italian Space Agency).

As a science fiction and Star Wars fan, she is known in the Italian online community by her nickname, Anakina, which has become the name of her imprint.

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Website : Anakina.Net