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Globe & Mail: "There isn't a scintilla of innocence in this masterpiece of Italian noir. Carlotto is a former political fugitive who spent time in a Mexican prison and served seven years in Italy. His version of hardboiled crime is criminal all the way."

Date: Mar 4 2006

There isn't a scintilla of innocence in this masterpiece of Italian noir. Carlotto is a former political fugitive who spent time in a Mexican prison and served seven years in his native Italy. His version of hardboiled crime is criminal all the way.

The central character of this novel is Giorgio Pellegrini, political fugitive on the run. After years of hiding out in Central America, Giorgio is ready to come home. That means pleading guilty to old charges and, more important, naming names. Giorgio goes to France and makes a deal to make a deal. It all works out according to plan, but then things begin to unravel. Giorgio, whose only concern is himself, finds that murder is an easy way to solve recurring problems.

This is a superb character study, and a searing and jaded vision of Italian society. In Carlotto's world, social elites and thugs are all the same gilded trash. The translation, by Lawrence Venuti, is fast and forceful. This novel is one of a series from Europa, so look forward to more.

by MARGARET CANNON

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