Wednesday, 3 December 2014

the few - Nadia Dalbuono

photo courtesy:scribe publications
An arresting thriller set the corrupted atmosphere of Italian politics.

To be honest what drew me to the book, was the fact that it was  a crime thriller set in Italy. The setting immediately made think of wafting smells of pizzas, filled with sun and people along the small curvy streets that defines Italy for me.

The book was good, and a welcome relief after three family sagas that I finished back to back. I was looking for some gritty crime story and "the few" looked like a good one get into.

The gist:

Leone Scamarcio is a tainted cop. He hails from a mafia family but now is on the other side and this makes life difficult for him especially with other officers on the force. However, his detective skills are duly acknowledged when his superior gets him on a sticky but high profile case.

Scamarcio gets down to unravelling the case but what seems like blackmail, quickly turns into a spate of murders. As he wading through the quagmire, there is also the abduction of a young American girl which appears to have connection with his case. The girl's abduction which so much resonates with the Madeleine Mcann case quickly gets the world's eyes on the Italian police force and Scarmarcio feels the pressure of racing against time to find the girl and solve his own case as well.

What works:
  • It is hard to believe this was a debut for the plot is handled with such finesse and skill. The story is tight and moves briskly.
  • The character of Scarmarcio is interesting, a man with a black past which hinders his present. The character is drawn well and has a lot of scope. I can easily see him solving a series of crimes and murders. He is definitely here to stay.
  • The Italian atmosphere is done very well. The language problem, the feel of the place is described very well indeed.
  • The author obviously has a good grip over the police force and the political system. She is aware of how things work and presents it an authentic manner.
The plot is a dark crime story which exposes the corruption in the Italian system and the stronghold of power over the law of the land. The author deals with the gory aspect with great sensitivity and brings out the dark aspects of the novel without going overboard with it unlike some crime novels that thrive on it.

What doesn't:
  • It is obviously a dark crime thriller so there is bound to be some unpleasant emotions to it. However, at times I found it too bleak and depressing. 
  • The tangle of the politics seems too complicated at times. Especially towards the end, I felt the writer rushing through with the resolution and tieng all ends neatly. It got a bit confusing then but then perhaps thats me. I was so busy walking down the dark corner that I missed a turn and should have been more vigilant about following the storyline. 

What makes this book different from the rest is that it not about a whodunnit, it is more like an expose of the corruption in Italian politics.

A good read. A great debut. I look forward to Detective Scarmarcio.

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