Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Giorgio Faletti
Baldini Castoldi Dalai Editore Inc, June 2008
594 pages
ISBN: 8860732956

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Monte Carlo may be associated with many excesses, but grotesque murders are hardly among them. Nevertheless, a serial killer is at large in Monte and police inspector Nicolas Hulot and his American friend Frank Ottobre, an FBI agent on leave and suffering from a guilty conscience following his wife's death, are doing all they can to stop him.

Sadly, their efforts are insufficient to prevent the mounting death toll. The murders continue, each signalled by a call to a local celebrity radio DJ and accompanied by an appropriately chosen piece of popular music. The detectives are aided by the comprehensive musical knowledge of Pierrot, an autistic young man, and hindered by the presence of the American General Parker, father of one of the victims, who has strong Washington connections.

Six hundred-odd pages later, all is sorted, if not happily.

Giorgio Faletti is a celebrated singer, song-writer, actor, and latterly a novelist. I KILL is his first and sold phenomenally well in Italy and then in Europe in translation. It is, however, unlikely to repeat that success in this English version.

There are any number of reasons - to begin with, Faletti draws heavily on the cliches of the serial killer genre, cliches that may be more eroded with use in their native tongue than they are in Italian. Secondly, this book is dauntingly long - it contains more pages than Eco's THE NAME OF THE ROSE and has considerably less content.

But what really sinks it is the quality of the language. I don't read Italian and have no way of judging the original. What we have here, however, is not even really a translation, or at least, nothing that any individual wants to take responsibility for. Instead there is a committee of four listed as the 'editorial team of the English language edition', and we all know what brilliant stylists committees are. The results are predictable - leaden prose, unidiomatic speech, predictable and improbable turns of phrase.

According to the publishers, I KILL has sold 4.5 million copies world-wide. With figures like that, one would imagine that a bit could have been spared to commission a decent translation. I have read that the Italian publishers are genuinely puzzled at their failure to crack the American market with this book, concluding that American readers are too insular to accept novels written originally in another tongue. They might find that, offered a genuine translation, Americans would prove a lot less insular than they think.

Reviewed by Yvonne Klein, June 2008

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]