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The Heart of Hell

Written by Alen Mattich

Series Title: A Marko della Torre Novel

  • 360 Pages
  • 9781770894372
  • 8" x 5.25"
  • FICTION / Mystery & Detective / General
  • FICTION / Thrillers



Publication Date February 14, 2015

The third installment in Alen Mattich's highly addictive Marko della Torre series.

Autumn 1991. Civil war has broken out in Yugoslavia with Croatia’s declaration of independence, and former secret policeman Marko della Torre is set adrift. Department VI, the internal investigations unit, is now in a state of paralysis as Belgrade struggles to maintain its hold as the region’s centre of power. When the body of a young woman, identified as American agent Rebecca Vees, washes up on the shores of Italy, della Torre is summoned by U.S. authorities. He is the last person to have seen Rebecca alive. Her two colleagues have also been found shot dead on an island in Croatia, and della Torre is coerced into locating the man they think is responsible: the corrupt and unscrupulous Zagreb cop, Julius Strumbić. Forced to navigate Yugoslavia’s bloody civil war in order to track Strumbić’s whereabouts, della Torre has to decide whether he will warn his old friend or give him up to the Americans to save himself.

In The Heart of Hell, Alen Mattich delivers a powerful political thriller that depicts the horrors and machinations of the Yugoslav civil war and the humanity of those who survive it.

Short-listed for the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Novel 2015


Alen Mattich
Alen Mattich is the author of Zagreb Cowboy and Killing Pilgrim, the first two novels in the Marko della Torre series. Born in Zagreb, Croatia, he grew up in Libya, Canada, and the United States. A financial journalist and columnist, he’s now based in London, U.K., and writes for Dow Jones and the Wall Street Journal.


"a heady mix of spy thriller and war reporting along the crystalline Adriatic… Each book in this series is a real treat, but this last was his best. I didn’t want it to end." The Bowed Bookshelf

"Missed the first two Marko della Torre novels? Read this one and then grab the others because Marko is a cop to be savoured." Globe and Mail

"….darkly funny series… a nail-biting ending" Halifax Chronicle Herald

"Mattich's narrative is fuelled by a harsh, authentic sense of time and place… Mattich also explores the grey areas of human behaviour: he loves morally compromised characters." Postmedia News Network

"Not only does he understand the unfathomable ethnic hatreds in his part of the world, he also writes about them with clarity and a satisfying sense of pace." Toronto Star

"This is high adventure at its best" Waterloo Region Record