The latest in the highly successful Guido Guerrieri series, shortlisted for the 2020 STREGA prize, Italy’s most prestigious literary award. It is a tense courtroom drama set in Southern Italy, but also a tale about passion and the passage of time.
Guerrieri had fallen in love decades earlier with Lorenza, a beautiful older woman who was in his eyes sophisticated and intellectual. She made wonderful love and opened his mind to high literature, but ultimately treated him as a plaything and discarded him.
One spring afternoon Lorenza shows up in Guerrieri’s office. Her son Jacopo, a small-time delinquent, stands convicted of the first-degree murder of a local drug dealer. Her trial lawyer has died, so for the appeal, she turns to Guerrieri. He is not convinced of the innocence of Lorenza’s son, nor does he have fond memories of how their relationship ended two decades earlier.
Nevertheless, he accepts the case; perhaps to pay a melancholy homage to the ghosts of his youth.
Gianrico Carofiglio, now a full time novelist, was a member of the Senate in Italy and an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Bari, a port on the coast of Puglia.
He is a best-selling author of crime novels and literary fiction, translated in 27 languages. This is the sixth Guerrieri novel is in this best-selling series.
Howard Curtis is a well-known translator from the Italian and has translated other titles in this series
This was a really interesting read, showing the legal profession of Bari, Italy. It was fascinating to see how they conduct trials and I liked the way Guerrieri and his team build up their case.
I also liked the way the plot was interspersed with Guerrieri’s memories of his brief relationship with Lorenza all those years ago. They gave a lot of insight into his character and how his experiences shaped him.
The trial chapters were insightful and the case was laid out for the reader, as though we’re the jury too – it’s not entirely clear whether he’s innocent or not so you can make up your own mind too. The ending then provides the answers, wrapping the case up if not neatly, then enough to release Guerrieri from the feeling of obligation and nostalgia he holds.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.