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Carte Blanche (De Luca Trilogy 1) Paperback – 7 Sep 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; English Edition edition (7 Sep 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193337215X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933372150
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 1 x 21.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 37,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Set in April, 1945 - Italy. This work presents the last days of the Fascist Salo Republic. It features a brutal murder on the "good side of town" lands Commissario De Luca in the middle of a hornet's nest where the rich and powerful mix drugs, sex, money and murder.

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3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 51 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross TOP 500 REVIEWER on 31 Aug 2006
Format: Paperback
Within the crime genre, I find that there's something inherently interesting in stories about policemen or detectives working within nasty regimes. There's Philip Kerr's excellent "Berlin Noir" trilogy starring P.I. Bernie Gunther, partially set in Nazi Germany. There's J. Robert Janes series featuring a French detective teamed up with a Gestapo agent in Vichy France during WWII. There's Martin Cruz Smith's Arkady Renko series, whose early books such as "Gorky Park" show the life of a Soviet cop in Moscow. And in the early '90s, Carlo Lucarelli wrote a trilogy set in the waning days of Fascist Italy, starring Commisario De Luca. In his introduction to this long-overdue translation, Lucarelli explains how an encounter with a retired policeman opened his eyes to an era when loyalties shifted with the wind, and factionalism reigned -- even among the police.

The story takes place circa April 1945 in Milan, where De Luca has just been switched from one of the political police units to the civil police as the German-allied civil administration is on the brink of collapse. It opens with the discovery of the body of a wealthy Italian/German fascist of murky occupation and many connections. Things get quickly complicated, as the fascist was also quite the lothario, and De Luca's capable team has its work cut out trying to establish just who might have been in the victim's apartment around the time of the murder. Further complications come from the general atmosphere, as partisans are loose in the city getting a head start on evening the score with those working for the Il Duce's regime.

Despite being very short -- really novella length -- the plot gets slightly overwhelming at times due to its complexity and the rapid pace.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 8 Aug 2008
Format: Paperback
First Sentence: The bomb exploded suddenly, with a ferocious blast, right as the funeral procession was crossing the street.

It is April 1945, the final days before the Allies move into Italy. Those in power are desperately trying to find a way to survive the coming days.

In the midst of this, Commissario De Luca has been given "carte blanche" in his investigation of the murder and castration of Rehinard Vittorio, a member of the Fascist Republican Party. With a mix of female suspects, drugs, witchcraft and more bodies, De Luca is a policeman trying to solve a crime.

This was a fast, and absolutely captivating, book. Lucarelli's creation of time and place provided a sense of the confusion and conflicting forces at play during this time when the primary concern was trying to survive.

Into that he brings the character of De Luca who, in spite of insomnia, dyspepsia, and political forces, is dedicated to being a policeman, solving the crime and bringing justice. De Luca's emotions are so well conveyed, as is the danger and frustration. The story is well-plotted and the characters alive.

There is good suspense and surprisingly ironic twist at the end. The mystery is solved, the murderer identified but you are left wanted to know what happens next to Comm. De Luca. Happily, Parts II and III of the trilogy await me.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Leonard Fleisig TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Dec 2007
Format: Paperback
It is April, 1945. Mussolini's regime is in its death throes, clinging to power in the north of Italy. Chaos and anarchy is rapidly replacing repression and order as the predominant feature of Italian life. Yet there is still some semblance of law and order so when a prominent and quite unsavory member of Mussolini's Republican Party is murdered, the police are called to the scene to investigate the crime. The crime is deemed sufficiently important for the police to be granted `carte blanche', to take any means necessary to solve the murder. Commisario De Luca is assigned to lead the investigation and his investigation is the heart of Carlo Lucarelli's enjoyable short novel "Carte Blanche".

"Carte Blanche", the first volume in what is known as the De Luca Trilogy, is rich in storytelling and atmosphere. As drawn by Lucarelli, De Luca is an interesting character. He is neither a hero nor an antihero. He seems to want to be nothing more than to be a detective yet as the story opens he has just transferred back to the regular police force after a stint with the secret police. He'd left because he didn't like that sort of work and seems quite willing to point out that no, he'd never tortured anyone. He is savvy enough to know that an investigation like this is one with political undercurrents that could put him in danger but his compulsion to gather facts and put together the pieces of a puzzle outweighs his sense of caution. As a result we see a story where De Luca persists in pursuing an investigation even when all his instincts tell him he is walking through a minefield.

The strength of "Carte Blanche" lies primarily in Lucarelli's ability to create an atmosphere of Italy on the edge of chaos. I got a real sense of time and place while reading "Carte Blanche".
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Miran Ali VINE VOICE on 15 May 2007
Format: Paperback
Here's the premise: decent man in the service of the Fascist police with the allies getting closer and closer each day. Partisans on the roofs and various militias on the streets. The atmosphere takes care of half the job already. Some hints of "Fatherland" and the whole canon of decent men in service of nasty regimes. A very short novel as well, only about a 128 pages. But a decent start and I'd probably read the rest of the trilogy as well.
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