The second most over-hyped crime fiction novel of recent reading (no prizes for guessing the first) must surely be A Death in Calabria, which shows once again the futility of believing claims made on a book’s cover.
If author Michele Giuttari is truly Italy’s leading crime fiction writer (as The Times supposedly claims), then there’s little point in reading any of the others (and what about Michael Dibdin, Donna Leon et al?).
Billed as a gripping tale, it is far from being anything of the sort. It is limp, loose and lacking any depth or excitement. There is no main protagonist, good or bad, and all we get is a succession of bland stereotypes. The whole thing reads like a movie storyboard.
Two top cops, faced with the arrest of a major crime suspect, agree “we must find out all we can about him”. Doh!
And we are asked to believe that New York’s finest and the CIA have neither heard nor know nothing about the dreaded ‘Ndragheta, the Sicilian mafia offshoot that has plagued the Big Apple for decades.
Not even the possibility that this is a poor translation (by Howard Curtis) excuses such nonsense.
Save your money.