Friday, May 1, 2015

Black Run - Antonio Manzini

Black Run
Antonio Manzini; Antony Shugaar (translator)
Harper, Apr 28 2015, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062310040

Knowing he prefers Rome to ice and snow and wanting him out of their hair, his disgusted superiors banish Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone to Aosta in the Italian Alps due to his scornful attitude.  Expecting icy ennui in this frozen tourist tundra, Schiavone has his first major case; the apparent murder of an unidentified person ripped to shreds by a snowcat machine on a ski run.  His efforts to learn who the corpse is are hampered by Schiavone feeling he is no longer in Italy as the locals are radically different from the residents of his beloved Rome

Still overcoming the culture shock, Schiavone soon learns the victim is Leone Micchichè, the co-owner along with his pregnant wife Luisa Pec, of Belle Cuneaz trattoria.  Luisa explains to the cop that her spouse planned to raise money by selling property that he and his brother own.  As Schiavone investigates the case, his focus remains triumphantly returning to Rome while he also demands a cut in the lucrative tourist marijuana market.

The exiled protagonist turns the first Schiavone Italian police procedural into a dark humorous whodunit as his interests are getting back to Nirvana, obtaining a sideline cash flow, women and working the inquiry.  The persons of interest seem one-dimensionally interchangeable, but fans will relish the politically incorrect antics of a corrupt yet ironically dedicated cop; who makes Backstrom’s behavior seem pristinely by the book. 

Harriet Klausner

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