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Reasonable Doubts [Paperback]

Gianrico Carofiglio , Howard Curtis
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 July 2007
Guerrieri is asked to handle the appeal of Fabio Paolicelli sentenced to sixteen years for smuggling drugs into Italy. Everything seems stacked against the appeal, not least the fact that Paolicelli initially confessed to the crime. Guerrieri's reluctance to take on the case is intensified by the fact that the accused is not unknown to him. Paolicelli was a notorious neo-Fascist thug. It is only the intervention of Paolicelli's beautiful half-Japanese wife Natsu that finally overcomes Guerrieri's reluctance. When he ends up in bed with her things get really interesting.

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Reasonable Doubts + Walk in the Dark, A (Guido Guerrieri) + Involuntary Witness (Guido Guerrieri Novels)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 275 pages
  • Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press; First Edition edition (2 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1904738249
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904738244
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 19.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 411,870 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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"The role of Guido Guerrieri is to take on impossible cases that have little chance of success. The lawyer accepts the case only because he's fallen in lust with the prisoner's wife; his efforts to prove his client's innocence bring him into dangerous conflict with Mafia interests. Everything a legal thriller should be." The Times "This book is hard-boiled and sun-dried in equal parts. Where Philip Marlowe would be knocking back bourbon and listening to the snap of fist on jaw, Guerrieri prefers Sicilian wine and Leonard Cohen. Guerrieri is romantically troubled and perpetually drawn into defending those he'd rather not. The local colour is complemented by snappy legal procedural writing which sends the reader tumbling through the clockwork of a tightly wound plot.' Financial Times "Carofiglio, until recently an anti-Mafia prosecutor in southern Italy, is particularly well-placed to write legal thrillers, and he does so with considerable brio, humour and skill. Guido Guerrieri is a lawyer who struggles with his own demons as much as with his stressful caseload - stressful because Guido is attracted to seemingly hopeless causes, and because it sometimes feels as though he's the only honest lawyer in Bari." Daily Mail --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

From the Publisher

Reasonable Doubts sold over 150,000 copies in the first week
after its release in Italy. The novel are the basis of a major television
series in Italy.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward Enjoyable Italian Legal Thriller 19 Nov 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 to represent him in his appeal case. Coming back from a vacation in Montenegro, the man'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. Definitely not a great book, but good enough to make me want to go back and read Guerrieri's earlier cases (Involuntary Witness, A Walk in the Dark).
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gianrico Carofiglio - Reasonable Doubts 15 Aug 2007
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Reasonable Doubts is the third Guido Guerrieri novel from Carofiglio, and, pleasingly, is every bit as good as the first two. The novel begins with Guerrieri being asked to tackle the appeal of Fabio Paolicelli, who has been sentenced to 16 years after a large quantity of drugs was found in his car on re-entry into the country. Paolicelli has a past as a neo-Fascist, and also initially confessed to the crime - though he later claims this was only in order to stop the police detaining his wife as well. Guerrieri is initially reluctant to take on the case: he and the defendant were involved in an incident in their youth which still leaves Guido bitter. However, Paolicelli seems not this specific incident from his violent past, and eventually, after a visit from his beautiful wife, Guerrieri starts working on the case, despite his best instincts and his previous resolution not to.

I think these snappy legal thrillers of Carofiglio's are almost certainly the best series being published by Bitter Lemon Press. They have intelligent and gripping qualities that make them stand out from the pack. They're short, focused, powerful, and humane. I wish there were more of them.

Reasonable Doubts may not be better than A Walk in the Dark (it's not quite as brave, plot-wise), but it's certainly just as good, and both are a little more polished than the first. There are three standout elements: the breezy, clear way Carofiglio conveys Italian legal procedure, the philosophical and moral tusslings, and the protagonist, Guerrieri, who this time around is a good man aware that he's doing the right thing for the wrong reason. Carofiglio's portrayal of his protagonist's occupational and moral conflicts is also done superbly well, initially.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A legal thriller and so much more 22 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was a superb read. Guido Guerrieri, a defence counsel, is asked to revisit the case of man sentenced to a long term in prison for drug-smuggling.

The legal tale itself is not complex (the book is only 250 pages long), but it is so wonderfully written and has been very well-translated. Guido is a slightly flawed character, but we empathize with him from the outset. And Carofiglio delivers insights brilliantly with his rich writing.

While the legalese will likely not test readers looking for some complexity, it would be very difficult to come away, having read this book, with anything other than a great deal of satisfaction. I have kept this review short as I need to rush off and order the two prequels!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Counsel for the defence Guerrieri is asked handle the appeal of Fabio Paolicelli, who has been found guilty of drug trafficking. He does not want to take on the job at first, as Paolicelli once beat him up as a kid and has a neofascict past. When he meets Paolicelli's beautiful half-Japanse wife, he decides to go ahead with it. It takes some "detectiving" to find out what happened and there's some good court-room finishing scenes. He sleeps with the defendant's wife a few times which seems kind of lazy by the author, given his ability to develop a good plot and interesting characters, demonstrated by "A Walk in the Dark".
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding writer 26 Nov 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the third book I've read by Carofiglio, and what you need to know is that, although not a lot 'happens' - we are defnitely not in plot-driven thriller territory here - the characters are so convincingly drawn that we get deeply involved, and care about them. For my money, Carofiglio is the outstanding 'crime' writer of today - and astonishingly, his subtleties have survived in the excellent translations.

If you like excellent writing, moral ambiguity and character led stories, go out and buy the whole series!
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