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The Daily Beast: "Packs plenty of plot into a slim volume, with space set aside for elaborate northeast Italian meals, musings on women, and plenty of Calvados drinking."

Date: Nov 13 2010

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Reviewed by Martha Mercer for The Daily Beast


Tired of Swedish mysteries that zigzag through frozen northern landscapes and feature grizzled police detectives or troubled computer hackers? Massimo Carlotto’s Bandit Love may not measure up to Henning Mankell’s best or even Stieg Larsson’s ubiquitous Dragon Tattoo trilogy, but its tight plotting and hard-boiled Italian private investigator are worth a read.

 

The latest Carlotto thriller to feature Marco Buratti, Bandit Love, follows the ex-con and blues aficionado as he tracks down his smuggler friend Rossini’s kidnapped girlfriend, a gorgeous belly dancer. Buratti and his partner, distractingly known as “The Fat Man,” join Rossini to investigate the original drug heist that led to the kidnapping, dodging—and killing—plenty of Eastern European gangsters along the way.

 

Bandit Love packs plenty of plot into a slim volume, with space set aside for elaborate northeast Italian meals, musings on women, and plenty of Calvados drinking. But Carlotto, a former political activist who fled abroad to escape wrongful imprisonment in the 1970s and finally returned to Italy after numerous appeals, has a penchant for distracting tangents about Italian corruption and organized crime. Skim through those sections and savor instead Carlotto’s plot twists and satisfying denouement.

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