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Ave Maria: A Neil Baggio Suspense is the second novel in the Neil Baggio Series by Charles D'Amico. Neil Baggio was surprised when he received a call from Orchard Lake St. Mary’s High School. His beloved literature teacher, James “Glow” Glowacki, was now the headmaster of the high school, and he had a favor to ask. Andrew, an exchange student at the high school, was found dead. The police were ruling the case as a suicide, but Glow believed something was fishy. So, Neil picked up the case and started to dig deeper. However, the deeper he dug, the more baffling this new case became. All the clues pointed him towards the Catholic Church, but surprisingly, he found no connection. Someone was trying to sweep all the clues away before Neil could get to them. It was now up to Neil and his team to find them and solve this case before it was too late.
Ave Maria by Charles D'Amico is a hard-hitting story with a lot of poetic justice and karma. I loved the chase and the race against time. Neil was a hero that drove the plot and led it from the front. He was analytical, observant, and above all, smart. Neil understood the situation far better than I anticipated and I enjoyed his go-getter attitude the most. While he was my favorite character in the story, Nicolette became a close second. She was spunky and sassy; her attitude was sharp and gave Neil a run for his money. The action was relentless, the pace was fast, and the plot itself was brilliantly handled. The mystery behind Andrew’s death was smartly handled too. This is an intense yet entertaining novel.
Charles D’Amico has written a novel with a powerful hook, a premise that pulled me in immediately. The author immediately shows the link the protagonist has with St. Mary’s and this explains why the case becomes personal for him. The characters are well-developed and apart from Neil Baggio, I enjoyed following Nicolette Milewski, a fascinating character, and her cousin, Christian. The writing is powerful and the prose flows flawlessly. The author doesn’t miss strong moments of humor, like what Neil thinks when he receives the call from Glow. The pacing is fast. The conflict is deftly written and it is interesting how Neil challenges the Catholic Church. Ave Maria: A Neil Baggio Suspense features compelling characters, a strong plot, and it provides a wonderful reading experience for readers.
Author Charles D'Amico never ceases to please with this series, delivering a dynamic hero who can turn his hand to any situation and root out the truth. One of the things which struck me about this work was the tightly-wound nature of the conspiracy, and how the author keeps readers hooked even when it seems like there are no leads at all. We are forced into deep detail mode, drinking in every nugget of vivid description and slick dialogue in the hopes that we, like Neil, can pick up a clue. I also really enjoyed the fact that this novel was markedly different from Veritas, offering the same level of thrills but with a totally different plot construction. Overall, I would highly recommend Ave Maria as an accomplished work of mystery fiction that fans of the current series will not want to miss.
It is a well-written story with memorable characters and a solid plot. I loved the way Charles D’Amico writes motivation in the characters. For instance, Neil might have dismissed the case, but the request coming from a man he has known since high school, his literature teacher, and involving a murder committed against one of the students from his former alumni, wins his heart. The reader feels as if the protagonist is out to defend not just his love for St. Mary’s but the values of the school. The story is written in beautiful prose, and I enjoyed the descriptions and the dialogues. The handling of character is impeccable. Nicolette was one of my favorite characters. I also enjoyed the fact that the author weaves very interesting background information about the characters without veering off the plot points, and this makes it easier for readers to get acquainted with Neil Baggio, especially those who haven’t read the other works from the author. Ave Maria: A Neil Baggio Suspense is suspenseful, engaging, and fast-paced. It reads well as a standalone novel.