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The New York Times: "The Italy of Massimo Carlotto is a different world entirely, a dangerous setting for serious crimes committed by cruel men like Giorgio Pellegrini, the amoral protagonist of THE GOODBYE KISS."

Date: Jan 22 2006

The Haunted Detective

The Italy of Massimo Carlotto is a different world entirely, a dangerous setting for serious crimes committed by cruel men like Giorgio Pellegrini, the amoral protagonist of THE GOODBYE KISS (Europa, paper, $14.95). A onetime political radical who fled Italy after killing a man in a bombing, Pellegrini earns his passage back into the country by preying on women, ratting out his former associates and assassinating his only friend. But he soon realizes that his old survival skills aren't worth much in modern-day Milan, where crime is a more subtle business than he's used to. "I'm scared stiff," he confides to a priest. "I don't know how to deal with this world." Although he lacks the diabolical charm of Patricia Highsmith's Tom Ripley, Pellegrini is a smart guy. As he makes his way through the Veneto, he picks up fast on current criminal trends, interpreting them for the reader in a narrative voice that in Lawrence Venuti's translation is cold and heartless - but, in a creepy way, fascinating.

By MARILYN STASIO
 

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