The Paletti Notebook

Darren Priest Mysteries Book 3

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
334 Pages
Reviewed on 03/26/2022
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Author Biography

Dick Rosano is an historian as well as a wine, food, and travel writer with long-running columns in The Washington Post, Ambassador Magazine, Wine Enthusiast and other publications. His travels have taken him to Europe, South America, Asia and throughout the United States, and he has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, L'Academie de Cuisine, and aboard Viking Cruise Lines. His recent books include The Etruscan Connection; The Sicily Chronicles (2 volumes); A Death in Tuscany; The Secret of Altamura: Nazi Crimes, Italian Treasure; The Vienna Connection; and Hunting Truffles. His novels are set in Italy, featuring picturesque landscapes, intriguing characters, and the wine, food, and culture of the region. See his novellas published under D.P. Rosano.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Hayley Haun for Readers' Favorite

The Paletti Notebook by Dick Rosano is the next Da Vinci Code. Tantalizing and intense, the whereabouts of the notebook only get muddier as time goes on. It began with the likes of the greats: Leonardo Davinci, Michelangelo, Machiavelli, etc. Their writings and sketches form what is known as the Paletti Notebook. From generation to generation, murder and heresy are committed to keep its contents hidden… That is until Darren Priest finds hints of the notebook’s existence in World War II photographs. The rumors circulate once more, and he must go on a mission to uncover the truth. But can he find it before someone else reaches it first? Or will he be in grave danger like all the rest?

What a whirlwind of mystery, secrets, and an equally interesting cast of characters! From the moment The Paletti Notebook begins, all the way to its ending, the story is fraught with peril. Readers are thrown into a maze of “who-dun-it”, or rather, “who-has-it.” I can’t but help be amazed at how deep the mystery goes. Rosano is in tune with his Italian roots and it shows. His research and knowledge of the time period make him a veritable historian. Rosano’s biography explains it best: “His series of novels set in Italy capture the beauty of the country, the flavors of the cuisine, and the history and traditions of the people. He has traveled the world, but Italy is his ancestral home and the insights he lends to his books bring the characters to life, the cities and countryside into focus, and the culture into high relief.”

Michelle Stanley

“Ego sum ira Dei,” “I am the wrath of God.” The Paletti Notebook: Darren Priest Mysteries 3 is a historical fiction novel by Dick Rosano. In Florence in the 1500s, Sando Paletti secretly created a scrapbook collection consisting of discarded sketches and scribbling from Michelangelo, Borgia, Leonardo Da Vinci, Machiavelli, and other noteworthy persons who patronized his restaurant. His grandson, Pietro, inherits the scrapbook but is murdered for it. Washington, 2021: Secret Agent Darren Priest and his friends, Alana and Aggie, conduct an investigation into a lost treasure collection known as The Paletti Notebook. Its contents include the infamous Gospel of Matthias that many persons have lost their lives over while protecting through the centuries. As their investigation takes them across the world, so does the murder trail as a group known as Arma Dei will do everything in their power to recover The Paletti Notebook.

“Genius is eternal patience.” - Michelangelo. The Paletti Notebook by Dick Rosano will have you traveling to Florence in the fifteenth century. Meet great artists, orators, religious and heretic leaders, and other historical figures. Rosano’s well-researched novel is extremely engaging and informative about the past as he describes the lineages and personal lives of characters such as Michelangelo, various popes, the Medici family, and their influence in the arts and politics. I also loved the suspenseful adventure that Darren, Alana, and Aggie had. They make a great team, despite some personal issues they had. As I found The Paletti Notebook a delight to read, I hope to get the opportunity to read the other two historical fiction novels in the series.

Saifunnissa Hassam

Dick Rosano's The Paletti Notebook -- Darren Priest Mysteries Book 3 is a historical fiction novel with the gripping mystery of the Paletti Notebook at its core. The story unfolds along two timelines: present-day (2021) and the past, beginning with early 16th-century Renaissance Florence. Darren Priest, a former U.S. intelligence agent, works on highly classified covert assignments. In Vienna, bank manager Bao Chinh of the DFR Wien and a friend of Priest finds intriguing World War II-era photographs in a 1943 safe deposit box. The photos seem to be of the legendary Paletti Notebook, dating back to Renaissance Florence. A collection of draft pieces from early Renaissance artists, writers, and politicians, it may also contain the Gospel of Mathias, the earliest gospel about Jesus, written by Mathias who personally knew Jesus. In Vienna, Priest, his partner Alana Weber (a Federal police officer in Vienna), and his friend, Aggie Darwin, take on the challenges posed by the photos. Where is the Paletti Notebook if it exists? The mystery deepens, their search turns dangerous, attracting the attention of others also intent on finding the Notebook.

I particularly enjoyed reading Dick Rosano's The Paletti Notebook for its compelling characters, and its riveting storyline, the mystery of the Paletti Notebook. I was hooked from the start by the dramatic introduction. I liked the characters of Darren Priest, Alana Weber, and Aggie Darwin for their unflinching courage, determination, and teamwork. I liked how the past is interwoven into the present-day search, keeping the focus always on the Paletti Notebook. In particular, the story sprang vividly to life with the evocative details that capture the early Renaissance period in Florence, bringing together Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Cesare Borgia. As the Paletti Notebook's legend continues into the later centuries, I think the story gained more depth as specific historic figures appear - popes, kings, emperors, and political leaders - searching relentlessly for the Paletti Notebook. The story's ending is exciting and very dramatic. I found the ending tantalizing -- perhaps there is more to come for the Paletti Notebook! A very enjoyable novel, well-crafted, and well-written historical fiction!

Teresa Syms

The Paletti Notebook: Darren Priest Mysteries Book 3 by Dick Rosano takes the reader to Renaissance Florence of 1553. An assassin of the Arma Dei violently murders Friar Paletti in his attempt to possess the Paletti Notebook. This book is a piece of legend wanted by princes, kings, popes, and the common man. For many centuries, people have searched, murdered, and scavenged to find some piece of the notebook, which contains sketches, drawings, and documents from leaders such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Machiavelli. Its crowning glory and the most sought-after piece is the original Gospel of the Bible written by Matthias in the Coptic language, which was thought to have been lost forever. In the modern-day, a bank manager discovers inside a vault a locked box containing photographs of what was originally contained within the Paletti Notebook. Darren Priest, an operative with the American government, is hired to recover the notebook. Once he learns his friend, the Viennese bank manager is murdered, Priest, his friend Aggie and the Vienna police travel around Europe following lead after lead. It appears everyone wants to possess the infamous notebook. Who in the end will take possession of it?

A spellbinding book from beginning to end. The Paletti Notebook by Dick Rosano is definitely a page-turner. The reader will be amazed at how quickly you will fall into the world of spies, governments, espionage, and history. The Paletti Notebook is an exceptionally well-written book incorporating the modern-day with history. It was so well balanced that the hundreds of years in different times didn’t matter…it only added to the story. Each character created stood front and center to the reader. The reader will easily understand each character, their role in the story, and how they will react in the grand scheme of things. Rosano created an incredible back story around the Paletti Notebook so that the reader believes such a collection could exist. This book was very well developed, planned, written, and presented and left me wanting more. Congratulations on creating such a fascinating story.

Grant Leishman

The Paletti Notebook: Darren Priest Mysteries Book 3 by Dick Rosano is an exciting spy thriller that is a continuation of a series centered around Darren Priest, a covert operative who frequently works directly for the President of the United States. After one of Darren’s contacts in Vienna, a bank manager, is murdered, Darren is tasked to search for and deliver to the U.S. something that has always been considered a myth, an urban legend. The Paletti Notebook has been rumored to contain not only a collection of sketches and drawings from the “Golden Age” of Florentine art at the end of the fifteenth century by such luminaries as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and others but also political statements and heretical writings from power brokers of the age, such as Machiavelli and Cesare Borgia. If that wasn’t enough to excite the senses, the collection also supposedly includes the lost Gospel of Matthias, a gospel written by a man who was a friend of Jesus and is considered by the Catholic church to be heresy. With the assistance of his girlfriend, Viennese police officer, Alana, and his friend, Aggie, Darren will trek across Europe searching for the elusive satchel that has the potential to rock the very foundations of Christianity and expose it as a fraud. They are not the only ones on the hunt for the Paletti Notebook, however. They will be relentlessly pursued in their quest by an ancient order of radical Catholics known only as “The Wrath of God” who are sworn to defend the church against all threats, using violence and murder to do so. Darren and his friends must, first of all, discover if the notebook exists and then find where it went after 500 years, always with one eye over their shoulders for assassins from “Arma Dei”.

The Paletti Notebook is a fast-paced, exciting thriller that taps into a real vein of interest exploring conspiracies theories that seem to naturally surround the powerful institution that is the Catholic Church. In the spirit of Dan Brown, author Dick Rosano postulates the idea that perhaps the entire Catholic Church and indeed the Christian faith may have been promulgated on a man-made fraud and was not God-inspired at all. The idea of missing Gospels, such as the Gospel of Mary or of Mattias, has always fascinated me and many others. This book beautifully taps into that idea. What I particularly enjoyed about this story was the characters. None of the three protagonists are superheroes, in fact, they are all down-to-earth characters who are readily identifiable. Even Darren, who is clearly a highly-trained operative with an extensive military background displays foibles, doubts, and emotional turmoil that make him seem as ordinary as you or I. His friend Aggie, with his sardonic humor and clearly displayed fears and doubts about the situations Darren gets them into, is a perfect foil for Darren’s determination to see the mission through. The love interest between Alana and Darren is a highlight of the story for me. The problems they face with sustaining a long-distance relationship, Alana being a solo mother, and the trust issues that develop due to the nature of both of their jobs are fascinating, adding real color to the narrative and this is explored beautifully by the author. The journey, both through time and through Europe in search of the mythical notebook, is the central theme of the novel, and exploring the impacts on the Church and on western civilization generally of actually obtaining these documents provides fascinating food for thought. If you are a Dan Brown fan, this book is right up your alley but I can highly recommend this read to all thriller and historical fiction lovers; in fact, to all readers. It is that good.