The Absence

Original title: L’assenza da giustificare

Publication Date:

February 2024

Original language and publisher

Italian | Edizioni Piemme

Territories Handled

English (North America), Netherlands


Crime & Thrillers, Debut Novel

The Absence

Original title: L’assenza da giustificare


An addictive and captivating psychological crime novel that uses a sympathetic and utterly believable female protagonist, brave and fragile at once, to explore themes of domestic violence, justice and trauma.

Newly promoted police inspector Alina Mari is just thirty-two when decides to try artificial insemination. She has no fertility problems, but she is afraid of sex and relationships due to profound traumas suffered as a child that have made her body a painful battlefield. Supported by her best friend and almost brother Tito, she goes to Brussels, but just when she is about to have surgery, she has to return to Rome to investigate a murder case.

Elena Catini, a teacher of a prestigious Catholic high school, has just been found dead, brutally killed in a park. The fact is that the victim seems a perfectly ordinary woman, with no enemies or conflicts, and the more Alina digs into the shadows of her murder the more the truth seems to move away. Eventually, she will find that Elena Catini’s death seems to be linked to other cases involving women, prostitutes killed by a mysterious serial killer. But what does Elena Catini have in common with those victims? And why does it seem that no woman can escape brutality and harassment in her existence, even the most unsuspected ones?

While the investigations continue against the backdrop of a beautiful and merciless Rome, Alina, so intuitive, so strong and determined, yet so fragile, faulty, and incredibly human, must confront her own ghosts, the mistakes, and unresolved issues of her life.

L’assenza da giustificare is one of those books you won’t stop thinking about long after you’ve turned the final page. It’s a powerful, deeply chilling female-led crime novel that addresses the issue of violence against women exploring its ramifications on the victim and those around her. And it’s also a touching and thought-provoking examination of themes of revenge and justice, guilt, and damage, that will appeal to crime lovers and beyond.