The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari {Book Review}

I have never heard of Richard Montanari before picking up this book at a second-hand bookstore.

For one, the cover is what got my attention, it was very low priced and I just scanned the back of the book before adding it to the pile I was taking home.

I got lucky with this one!

I can’t believe it took me so long to actually read, and it had me so hooked on the plot that I opted for an audio book to listen to in-between errands because I had to know how it ended.

This is the first book in the Jessica Balzano and Kevin Byrne book series, and I can’t wait to get my hands on more.

DISCLAIMER: This review could contain possible spoilers based on my opinions. All opinions and views are my own.

Book Review: The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari #bookreview


Jessica Balzano is teamed up with Kevin Byrne, a veteran cop with a history and a mental state on the edge. His life is upside down and he’s not afraid about breaking every rule in the book and taking risks. Being teamed up with a rookie partner is all that he needs, especially with his past catching up with him.

The Balzano name is held high amongst law enforcement as everyone knows her father, a famous Philadelphia cop, but Jessica is determined to make her own mark.

It’s Jessica’s first day in Homicide, and her first case already has her gripped: stop a killer who is targeting devout young women, bolting their hands together in prayer and leaving them in the city for all to find.

The killer’s plan is methodical and as the rosary is counted, with Easter approaching, both Jessica and Kevin know they need to end the killings before the last count.

As the names of suspects grow and vanish, they struggle to piece the puzzle together. Will they be able to save the remaining victims before the rosary has been completed?

My Opinion: Positive Thoughts

What a gripping thriller this was! I was hooked right from the beginning and couldn’t wait to get to the end to find out WHO the killer could be and why he was wrecking so much unthinkable havoc.

There was enough evidence planted throughout the book to believe that every suspect named was the killer, and the truth only hits you right at the end. The person you least expect-what a twist that was. With all the confusion with suspects, I never even thought about the character that was behind the killings which made it so much more gripping. Always the ones you don’t expect, right?

Except the very first suspect, there was just way too much evidence planted on him within a quarter of the book and I knew-this wasn’t the guy.

The insights into the killer’s mind were interesting and gripping; it created some explanations to how they were thinking and what was driving them, without actually telling you what was driving them in detail to not give up the plot too quickly. That’s smart writing.

There were some additional points of views added to the books to thicken the suspicions about certain characters that I found great because it completely took you off course with the development of the plot.

No stereotyped love scenes-great move on the author’s side.

My Opinion: Negative Thoughts

There are a lot of backstories to read through, which I get since it’s the first book of the series and it gives us an idea of the characters and their pasts and presents. They could’ve been spread out a little better with the next books. At times I did forget about the plot because of them, and they shouldn’t be the highlights of the book.

I did struggle to understand Jessica’s actions in the end where she left her child alone in the house with a possibly dead suspected killer, instead running out to get help. She should’ve taken Sophie OUT of the house when she was running out and it would’ve saved her a lot of trouble. Maybe it was the shock and disorientation of the moment, but I believe Jessica could still have made a better choice.

I was a little lost on the religious explanations and skimmed through them, but I did find it odd that the Catholic characters had to be ‘taught‘ about the rosary beads which is something significant and should be known to them. It was unnecessary information that could’ve been cut from the book.


It’s a brilliantly written psychological thriller, one of the best I have read in years and I appreciated the twists and turns that made it a complete page turner. It’s not a ‘skinny‘ book but I still found it to be a fast read (with the occasional help of the audio book).

The murder scenes are described in graphic details to add a terror sense to the killer’s mental state and motives.

I was slightly bothered by the moral and duty dilemma at the end. Murder is murder, no matter the reason behind it, but I assume the author was going for a ‘Justice is Blind‘ feel?

My Rating:

The book has a rating of 4.01 on GoodReads. I gave it a 5.

This one is definitely going on my recommendation pile for the well-written plot and edge of your seat suspense.

The Rosary Girls by Richard Montanari {Book Review} #bookreview

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