“Blessed Are Those Who Mourn” by Kristi Belcamino is a non-stop action packed novel involving murder, mind games, and a parent’s worst nightmare. She has come into her own as an author with great character development, showing their emotions, fears, and strengths.
Almost from the very beginning of this plot, readers are drawn into the character’s anguish. Bay Area crime reporter, Gabriella Giovanni and her live-in partner, Detective Sean Donavan confront evil when their child is kidnapped. She suspects that the same person who kidnapped and murdered her sister is behind the nightmare she is personally facing now. Detective Donovan is frustrated when he cannot protect those he loves, his girlfriend and daughter. The story’s suspense never lets up, as it becomes a race with the clock to find the child before time runs out.
Belcamino uses her experiences as a crime reporter to add realism to the plot making her main characters jump off the page. She noted to blackfive.net that in a New York Times Op-ed both her worlds as a reporter and parent sometimes conflict. “As a mother and crime writer, I’m two people every day. One is an Italian American mother who carts children to soccer and softball, making pancakes and acting silly. The other sits down and writes about terrible people doing terrible things to others. And sometimes those others are children. I wonder how I can tell my own daughter that the monsters she reads about are not real, when I know better than most just how real they are?”
A powerful quote from the book exemplifies this feeling, “At work, I’m pulled into the depths of darkness talking to people who are grieving or coaxing information out of convicts. When I return home at night, I’m confronted with innocence in the form of my small child who knows nothing of the evil in this world.” Americans tend to forget that policemen, those serving the military, reporters, and first responders must reconcile having to deal with the darker side of humanity.
She wants her readers to understand, “As a crime reporter I understand all those who must confront evil and then go home to hold their children. I began to find it very difficult to do both. I have put in all my books the theme of a child kidnapped and killed because I was haunted by the reality in a story I covered as a reporter. The dedication in my first book is to every girl and young man kidnapped and killed. Unfortunately, the details I draw from are my real life experiences of sitting with parents in the first few days as the search went on for their taken children. Now, as a reporter, I am more guarded, and try not to get as emotionally involved.”
It becomes obvious after reading Belcamino’s books that her character Gabriella is her alter ego. Besides writing a strong, smart, and sassy character; a riveting and intriguing plot; she also writes about the inner workings of a large Italian family, their loyalties and devotion towards each other.