Deadline Rome

The Vatican Kylix

Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
420 Pages
Reviewed on 08/26/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Christian Sia for Readers' Favorite

Deadline Rome: The Vatican Kylix by Sari Gilbert is an intriguing story set in 1980 in Italy. Clare Phillips is a young freelance journalist living in Rome, struggling to make a name for herself in the profession. While Clare, an archeologist turned journalist, and her friend, Daniel, an American priest, explore an Etruscan tomb, they stumble upon a gruesome sight of murder with severed body parts left on the scene. Clare is determined to unravel the mystery, and she believes it could be the break she needs in her career. A receipt from a grocery shop and a tin of pâté are the clues that lead her straight to the bad guys, but she does not know what danger she has put herself in. Clare finds herself amid a deadly conspiracy involving an Argentinian archbishop with questionable morals, the mafia, an unsavory French diplomat, and a politician.

Cunningly plotted and expertly written, Deadline Rome: The Vatican Kylix takes readers through the streets of Rome, presenting a gorgeous setting in a time before the internet and social media. The characters are rock solid, including the archbishop with links to the mafia, the corrupt French diplomat, magistrates, and Clare’s lovers. The characters are elaborately written, and the author writes strong motivation into the protagonist. Clare is a likable character, driven by her desire for success, yet she is flawed in many ways. Readers will adore how the author explores the connection between her and the priest. The plot is robust, suspenseful, and the incremental doses of suspense and intrigue will have readers racing through the pages. Sari Gilbert writes in beautiful prose, and the descriptions are wonderful, offering vivid and fascinating imagery to readers and exploring an exotic world. It is fast-paced, twisty, and hugely entertaining.

Divine Zape

Deadline Rome: The Vatican Kylix by Sari Gilbert is an interesting tale with a fascinating setting, a twisty plot, and believable characters. Clare Phillips is a freelance journalist whose career is not moving in the direction she wants. She has a background in archaeology, and when she visits an Etruscan tomb with Daniel, a young American priest, friend, and heartthrob, they discover a severed body part, indicating something foul: a kidnapping, probably. Clare sees an opportunity to take a break in her career, and using the clues left behind, she follows the trail directly to the people responsible for the crime. But it puts her life in danger, and soon, she finds herself embroiled in a deadly plot with greedy and unscrupulous characters like the Christian Democratic politician and the Argentinian archbishop with ties to the mafia. Can she unravel the mystery while staying safe?

A beguiling tale with a well-drawn setting in the 1980s, Deadline Rome: The Vatican Kylix features multidimensional characters, and readers will adore the way the author writes about them. Clare is a beautiful young woman, strong-willed, and determined. It is interesting how she coerces the priest to follow her on her quest. Her intimate life is intelligently written, and it enriches characterization, giving her a deeper layer of appreciation as a flawed character. The kylix becomes a core element in the narrative: a symbol of power that is coveted by many. Sari Gilbert is a great storyteller who grabs readers' attention through the beautiful prose and a premise that is compelling and keeps them turning the pages, thanks to the creative plot points, the fascinating setting with well-written locales, and suspense that permeates the entire narrative.

Rabia Tanveer

Deadline Rome: The Vatican Kylix by Sari Gilbert is a mystery/thriller novel with a fantastic protagonist and a kick-ass plotline. When Clare and her priest friend come across severed body parts in an Etruscan tomb, they know they have bitten off more than they can chew. Clare, who is a freelance journalist, goes to attend a press conference held by the Vatican’s Etruscan Museum for their newly purchased antique Greek wine cup (kylix) painted by Euphronius. However, Clare finds out that the purchase might be a hoax, and she takes that as her cue to investigate the authenticity of the kylix. The deeper she digs, the more intrigued she becomes. Clare has no idea she is about to sink knee-deep into a dangerous money laundering scheme that may be above her pay grade. But Clare is not a quitter, and she is not going to run. She will get to the bottom of this, even if it puts her life in danger.

Readers, get ready to be transported to Italy. The descriptions and imagery are mesmerizing, they are so realistic that I could taste the food Clare was eating and experience what she was experiencing. Clare and Daniel have a strange yet very endearing relationship. Clare is borderline flirting with the poor priest at times, and he has no idea what he should do. The element of mystery is perfection! The author brings a sense of foreboding to the plot with the narrative and keeps the attention of readers bound to the story. I am surprised by how well-connected all the plot points are. Clare is a smart protagonist, but Sari Gilbert is a smarter writer. Sari is a magician with words, and she knows just how to bend and mold Deadline Rome to make it even more fabulous.