Customer Review

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Your problem these days is getting information, and the cops are the best source available.", 17 Oct 2010
This review is from: Bandit Love (World Noir) (Paperback)
Massimo Carlotto, who has achieved as much fame for his noir mysteries involving the Mafia in Italy as he has for his seven year incarceration for a murder he did not commit, puts his knowledge of law enforcement, lawyers, the criminal justice system, and the Mafia to use in this up-close-and-personal look at the growing power of international Mafias. Set primarily in Padua, the novel features Marco, "the Alligator" Buratti, the owner of a small bar called La Cuccia, in which he shares ownership with Max La Memoria. Together they also do private investigations. Beniamino Rossini, a smuggler and armed robber, who was in prison with both of them, is also available to help out.

When Sylvie, Beniamino's belly dancer-lover vanishes without a trace, the three men set to work turning the underworld upside down, finding evidence to suggest that the kidnapping was related to a huge drug robbery from two years ago. The Institute of Legal Medicine of the University of Padua had stored fifty kilograms of narcotics, including thirty kilograms of heroin and ten kilos of cocaine, for toxicological testing of the active principles, and the robbery was clearly an inside job.

Shifting back and forth between the robbery and the present, Carlotto crafts his dark and terrifying story from the viewpoint of Buratti and his friends, none of whom have any qualms about doing whatever is necessary to gain information that will allow them to find Sylvie. They are helped in their investigation by their friendship with Morena Borromeo, a prostitute who has become an informer , and who can often get information through pillow talk with influential people. To make connections with these people, Buratti and his associates must commit crimes of their own. Despite their willingness to use violence and/or murder to accomplish their ends, however, Marco Buratti, Max La Memoria, and Beniamino Rossini remain "human" in the hands of the author. All have ordinary interests that make it possible for readers to identify with them, despite everything else.

Carlotto compresses time throughout this novel, telling what amounts to a three-hundred page novel in fewer than two hundred pages, and readers may find themselves flipping back and forth to the table of contents to remind themselves whether they are in Padua, Grenoble, or Lugano and whether the date is 2004, 2006, 2008, or 2009. Buratti and his associates must investigate criminals and criminal enterprises that cross the boundaries of many countries and territories, all with their own internal Mafias. The Croatians, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Romanians, Turks, Russians, Serbian intelligence services, and Kosovar Mafia are all angling for power in northeast Italy, trying to control the flood of drugs coming from Morocco, Algeria, and elsewhere. Though the action is fast and furious, and the many characters are often hard to keep track of, Carlotto's novel is a satisfying noir achievement, written with insight, intelligence, and passion, even as its characters often seem to be living hopeless lives. Mary Whipple
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 25 Oct 2010 09:43:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 25 Oct 2010 09:47:07 BDT
Norrin_Radd says:
Buratti isn't exactly introduced in this novel. One may well be better advised to start with the other two previous Buratti novels (there are in fact 5, however only the 4th and 5th are available in English) - The Colombian Mule and the Master of Knots. Having said that, it's not essential to have read these to appreciate Buratti.

In reply to an earlier post on 27 Oct 2010 18:11:01 BDT
Mary Whipple says:
Agreed. Best, Mary
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Reviewer

Mary Whipple
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Location: New England

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