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Booklist: "Genuinely seductive."

Date: Aug 16 2013

Inspector Giuseppe Lojacono, wrongfully accused of passing information to the Mafia in Sicily, has been banished to Naples. He’s miserable. His wife believes the accusation, his teenage daughter won’t speak to him, and, despite his formidable investigative skills, he is given no duties. He sits playing cards against his office computer. That changes when a teenager is murdered, and frenzied Naples’ journalists dub the killer The Crocodile. A driven young female prosecutor who oversees the investigation unexpectedly puts Lojacono in charge. Two more identical murders occur, and the only thing the victims have in common is having been raised by dedicated, loving, single parents. Through his characters, de Giovanni—who lives in Naples—portrays a grimy, crowded, crumbling metropolis filled with people who steadfastly avoid engagement with the city; Lojacono’s understanding of his “invisible” quarry largely springs from his own estrangement from Naples. All the primary characters are lovelorn, and each gets her or his own aria in what comes to feel like a noir opera. The Crocodile offers an elegant narrative and vividly rendered characters. It’s genuinely seductive.

—Thomas Gaughan