Giudo Guerrieri - 40ish Private Attorney, Bari, Italy
(Reviewed by Tony Ross DEC 21, 2007)
This Italian bestseller is the third in Carofiglio's series of crime/legal thrillers featuring lawyer Guido Guerrieri. The simple story is set in the somewhat grim eastern port of Bari (yes, I've been there and don't care to return), where the 40ish private attorney plies his trade while fending off a midlife crisis. One day, not long after being dumped by his girlfriend, he is retained by a convicted drug smuggler, Fabio Paolicelli, to represent him in his appeal case. Coming back from a vacation in Montenegro, Paolicelli's car was searched, and 40 kilos of cocaine was found, leading to a sixteen year sentence.
However, he claims to have confessed only in order to keep his half-Japanese wife out of jail, and disavows any prior knowledge of the drugs.
The story then unfolds relatively straightforwardly, as Guerrieri examines the details of the original case and does a little digging with the unofficial help of a few old acquaintances. As in many European crime novels, the hero/protagonist is somewhat of a loner, and spends a good portion of the book drifting around the streets of the city (by bike!) ruminating on his empty life, eating, and drinking. Adding to Guerrieri's woes is his self-loathing when he falls all too easily into bed with his client's exotically beautiful wife. A further complication is the lawyer's secret past with his client -- as a teen, the client was a fascist thug who was part of a gang who assaulted Guerrieri, an event the client doesn't appear to recall. These latter two elements don't add a great deal to the story, especially the teenage connection, which leads nowhere and ultimately serves little purpose. Yet despite the relatively unoriginal plotline, there's a certain tone to the story that makes it quite compelling.
Not a great book, but good enough to make me want to go back and read Guerrieri's earlier cases. (Translated by Howard Curtis.)
- Amazon readers rating: from 6 reviews
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
Guido Gurrieri series:
- Involuntary Witness (2002; 2005 in US)
- A Walk in the Dark (2003; 2006 in US)
- Reasonable Doubt (2003; 2007 in US)
- The Past is a Foreign Country (2004; August 2010 in US)
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- Wikipedia page for the Gianrico Carofiglio
- Reviewing the Evidence 60-second interview with Gianrico Carofiglio
- The New Yorker on Gianrico Carofiglio
- Bookslut review of A Walk in the Dark
- Complete Review on A Walk in the Dark
- EuroCrime review of Reasonable Doubts
- MostlyFiction.com review of The Past is a Foreign Country
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About the Author:
Gianrico Carofiglio as born in1961. He is an anti-Mafia judge in Bari, a port on the coast of Publia in Italy. He has been involved with trials concerning corruption, organized crime and the traffic in human beings.
Involuntary Witness was his first novel, a bestseller in Italy and now the subject of a television series. It has won a number of prizes, including the Marisa Rusconi award.