Book Review: Unholy Awakening by Michael Gregorio  

Posted by Scott Wilson

ISBN: 9780571237906

Australian Pub.: October 2010

Edition: 1

Publisher: FABER


Subject: Crime & Mystery

Edition Number: 1

A dark, gothic, vampiric mystery set in 19th century Prussia.


A female corpse is found in the town of Lotingen. The girl's neck has been ripped open, all the blood drained from the body. Hanno Stiffeniis hastens to investigate a case more terrifying than murder. Would any human being kill in such a gruesome fashion?

Emma Rimmele has come to Lotingen to bury her mother. A beautiful woman travelling with a coffin in her baggage, Emma attracts gossip like a magnet. When a corpse is discovered near the house where she is living, speculation about the mysterious stranger reaches fever pitch. When two more ravaged bodies are found, fingers point accusingly in her direction. One word is heard on every tongue. Vampire ...

News arrives from a nearby town. A French officer's throat has been ripped out. Another French soldier has bled to death. The horror of Lotingen is happening elsewhere. Colonel Lavedrine, a criminologist in the Grand Armee, is ordered to collaborate with Magistrate Hanno Stiffeniis. Two years earlier, they had worked together to solve a murder despite fierce clashes of character and opinion. Once again, each man is drawn into the forbidden world of dark graveyard paths and reading in pursuit of a curse which has plagued Prussia for centuries.

About Michael Gregorio

Michael Gregorio are Michael G. Jacob and Daniel Gregorio. She teaches philosophy. He is interested in the history of photography in the nineteenth century. They have been married for over twenty-five years and live in Spoleto, a small town in central Italy. A Visible Darkness, their third novel, followed Critique of Criminal Reason and Days of Atonement. Unholy Awakening is the fourth novel in the Hanno Stiffeniis series.


This is the fourth book in this series set in nineteenth century French-occupied East Prussia. The main character, Prussian procurator Hanno Stiffeniis is back in a new Historical crime novel where he faces his countrymen who are convinced vampires are roaming the land killing the general public.

Set during Napoleon's reign it's also a time when reason and superstition collide. Hanno is not convinced of the supernatural elements in the case and looks to reason over superstition. In this case, deaths caused by a vampire - the local population wants to dig up the bodies and stake them, he'd prefer to look among the very living for the murder. He's also all too human, allowing the main suspect to seduce him away from his suspicions; had he paid more attention, the mystery might have been solved earlier.

This historical fictional novel has some excellent descriptions of the country during the nineteenth century, adding to the well plotted crime story. The clash between the French and the Prussians is also very well described.

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