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by Gianrico Carofiglio
Bitter Lemon Press, May 2006
247 pages
ISBN: 1904738176

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Lawyer Guido Guerrieri has ended up with the case from hell -- one that's virtually guaranteed to blow his career out of the water.

Martina Fumai has accused her ex-boyfriend of assault. And he just happens to be the son of a powerful judge -- hence why all the lawyers are feigning over-work when asked to represent her. Guido, though, is one for the underdog. And, just to hinder him, he feels this strong pull to Sister Claudia, the nun running the shelter where Martina lives.

A WALK IN THE DARK is almost like a snapshot in Guido's life. The book clearly covers several weeks or even months, but it remains focussed on him as a human being. The court case isn't incidental, but instead it runs alongside a restless man's life. And when Guido cracks the case, it's as if a door opens to him during one of his many night-time soul-searching sessions.

There's some first-rate translations emerging from Italy now UK publishers have taken the plunge. Bitter Lemon Press, whose catalogue of European crime fiction is almost flawless to date, have brought us Gianrico Carofiglio, Luca Di Fulvio and Giampero Rigosi, whilst Orion have the excellent Massimo Carlotto on their books.

A WALK IN THE DARK is the second of Carofiglio's books to be translated into English after the equally compelling INVOLUNTARY WITNESS. The author is apparently an anti-Mafia prosecutor in southern Italy. His hero is clearly imbued with that relentless wish for justice.

Guido's a complex character, and the two books feel as if the onion-type layers are only just beginning to be peeled back. Alongside his professional drive, there's also an edgy private life. He has a relationship with Margherita, who lives in the flat above him, and who we were introduced to in INVOLUNTARY WITNESS. But you get the feeling that, if this series is to continue, it won't be plain sailing.

A WALK IN THE DARK is a deceptively simple story with a deceptively simple writing style. But it's intelligent, reflective crime fiction, written with diamond-sharp precision. And we clearly have translator Howard Curtis to thank for what feels like a totally seamless translation. This is a must-read series.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, June 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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