About The Book
15th-century Venice is a dangerous time to be alive. A permanent winter has rolled in over the canals and bodies keep washing up on the banks of the city. Each victim has been skinned.
In the present day, a famous portrait by Titian has been discovered. Its subject: the 15th-century suspected murderer Angelico Vespucci, known as The Skin Hunter.
Leading New York dealer, Triumph Jones, encourages the rumour that ‘when the portrait arises, so will the man’. And when flayed bodies start turning up in Tokyo, London and Venice, it begins to look like more than just a superstition.
Previously a location finder for the film industry, Nino Bergstrom has just recovered from a serious illness. As a favour to the friend who helped him, the dealer, Gaspare Reni, he investigates the murder and flaying of Seraphina Morgan. In Venice he comes across Seraphina’s louche husband and the flamboyant Johnny Ravenscourt, moving onto Tokyo where he encounters the Japanese dealer of the macabre, Jobo Kido.
As the dealers vie to get their hands on the Titian portrait – some for its beauty, others for its notoriety as being the first portrait of a serial killer – each becomes a suspect. And then Nino makes the connection between the 15th century murderer and his 21st century imitator. Each of the 21st century victims had something in common with their 15th century counterpart.
Further investigations lead Nino deeper into the depraved world of Angelico Vespucci, the original Skin Hunter. Then, after the deaths and mutilation of three women – on the anniversaries of Vespucci’s crimes – Nino realises that the date for the fourth killing is due.
He has to find the last victim and save her. And he has only ten days to do it.