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The Dogs of Rome: A Commissario Alec Blume Novel [Kindle Edition]

Conor Fitzgerald
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (88 customer reviews)

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Book Description

On a hot summer morning, Arturo Clemente is sloppily murdered in his Roman apartment by a mysterious slasher. When his wife, an eminent politician, finds his body, she swiftly springs into action--by calling the Ministry of the Interior.


By the time police inspector Alec Blume arrives at the scene, evidence has been collected, command taken, and, in short--his investigation has been compromised. As the details of the case continue to trickle out, Blume soon realizes he is being watched from on high--and that solving this crime may be the least of his worries. Losing sleep and unsure who to trust, Blume feels the case spinning out of control: does anyone involved even want justice? At what price will it come? And who runs this town--the police, the politicians, or organized criminals?


In this riveting novel, we are introduced to Blume, an American expatriate and seasoned police veteran. Intelligent yet sometimes petulant, instinctive yet flawed, Blume is a likeable and trustworthy protagonist for this, the first installment of a gritty and promising series.



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Fitzgerald's impressively plotted debut, the first in a projected contemporary crime series, introduces police chief commissioner Alec Blume, an American expatriate who's been living in Rome for the last 22 years. Since losing both his parents—art historians who were shot and killed during a bank robbery on Via Cristoforo Colombo—as a teenager, Blume has been a loner of sorts, the proverbial outsider. When someone brutally murders Arturo Clemente, a prominent politician's husband and an animal rights activist who recently exposed a dog-fighting ring, in Clemente's apartment, the flawed but endearing Blume uses his unique perspective to negotiate his way through a labyrinthine minefield that includes crooked cops, unscrupulous politicians, and an ancient city whose very history is steeped in the corruption associated with organized crime. Those who like gritty crime thrillers with a European flair will be well rewarded. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The appearance of a new police series set in Italy is guaranteed to whet the thirst of international crime-fiction fans, especially when a few sips evoke that heady Italian brew that comes from the smooth blending of a corrupt bureaucracy and a flawed, world-weary hero. Fitzgerald mixes the ingredients skillfully, adding a few flavors of his own. Alec Blume is an American, Seattle born, but he has spent most of his life in Rome and is now a commissario in the Italian state police, though his heritage labels him as an outsider. His ambiguous status plays a role in what appears to be a classic Italian “political” murder—the killing of an animal-rights activist whose wife is an important politician and whose mistress has ties to the Mob. The plot unwinds with some genuine surprises, though not of the simplistic whodunit variety, but the focus here is on character: Blume, of course, but also his colleagues, who are casually comfortable with corruption, as well as the wife, the mistress, and the killer. This promising debut is reminiscent of early Michael Dibdin, and that is more than enough to put Fitzgerald’s series on your radar. --Bill Ott

Product Details

  • File Size: 932 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; 1 edition (April 9, 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003HD2L0O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #42,109 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
By Smacca
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is just a great read - I started reading it after work on Friday, and I barely put it down until I'd finished it on Sunday afternoon. If you like Elmore Leonard and Ed McBain, you will really enjoy this one. The characters are three-dimensional, engaging and, most importantly, they have a sense of humor, irony and of their own limitations.

It is first and foremost a crackling mystery story, with all kinds of unexpected twists, turns, screw-ups and redemptions, and even a surprisingly useful love interest. It is going to make a great movie too - remember you read that here when it comes out and you are standing in line to see it, even though you know how it ends!

The main character, a detective with the Rome police, is an insider, in that he is completely assimilated as a Roman, can jabber away in Roman dialect, and so on. But he is also a perpetual outsider, because he is originally from somewhere else, the other cops won't let him forget it, and in any case he himself doesn't really want to forget it. (He also doesn't have a family, let alone an extended family network, which as far as I can see is the key to survival in Italy...) This gives him a perspective on Rome and Italian life that almost no one else has - and that is interesting.

(In fact, the fact that the story is set in Rome isn't just an exotic backdrop. It changes everything, gives it layers of social and moral and political compromise that you almost never find in a detective novel. Makes you lean in and pay attention!)

The last thing I'll say is that the book is naturally funny.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dogs of Rome April 5, 2010
Format:Hardcover
The Dogs of Rome is a very good murder mystery with well developed characters. The characters are not the "cookie-cutter stereotypes" often found in "Whodunit" murder mysteries. The characters are more important that the "puzzle" of the mystery. This novel is similar in this way to the "Columbo" television series or the "Inspector Bill Slider" novels by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles. It is a novel about the people surrounding a murder investigation, rather than a novel about a murder investigation.

Unlike many other male writers, whose female characters seem unidimensional, Mr. Fitzgerald captures both male and female characters equally well. The characters are very complex and real with strengths and weaknesses, just as all real people have good points and flaws. All of the characters are well developed. The men, women, children, good-guys, bad-guys, and in-between-guys are all very real.

Reading as Fitzgerald brings all the stories to an end, is like watching the space shuttle leave orbit and taxi to a stop at the end of its runway. Many modern mystery novels have a STOPING rather than an ENDING, with stories that crash into a tree rather than arriving at a destination.

The quixotic nature of the Italian police system's bureaucracy is well captured. Rome has worked to perfect the art of bureaucracy for at least 10,000 years, and Fitzgerald gives the reader a wonderful introduction to its nuance.

I sincerely hope that this is but the first of many Commissario Alec Blume novels.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hoping for more June 27, 2011
By Marie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Italy is my favorite country to visit and I love Rome. So I had great hopes for this book. Since the author lives it Rome, it seemed like a slam dunk. No question it is well written and at times engaged my attention. Unfortunately, I never felt like I was in Rome, Italy, or anywhere very exotic. The main attempts at evoking Italy were the Italian surnames and street names. The dialogue was too American TV cop show and had none of the cadence or flow of Italian. The formality of Italian life was ignored; everyone was on a first name basis, even the bad guy, which would just not happen in a culture where titles are highly valued. But I think what kept me from giving this a 4th star was the abrupt metamorphosis of the killer from an idiotic killer to a criminal mastermind. It just didn't ring true. Especially after Blume totally missed the in-your-face clues when he visited the killer's apartment. I'm not sure I will try again. This was a free download.
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25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Dogs of Rome March 28, 2010
Format:Hardcover
I won "The Dogs of Rome" by Connor Fitzgerald through [...] first read giveaway. I love crime novels and am always in the hunt for a new author. Based on Mr. Fitzgerald's debut novel I believe he has a promising future in the crime genre.

The format of the book was very unique. The book starts off with the murder. You know who was murdered but not by whom or why. The reader is quickly introduced to Commissioner Blume, the lead police investigator. Although Commissioner Blume believes he has figured out who the murderer is the politics in the police station prevent him from following his instincts. In order to solve the murder Commissioner Blume must break the rules and risk lives all in the name of being an upstanding police officer.

The brief insight into Commissioner Blume's past allows the reader to connect with the character and root for him to be successful. I hope in future books a little more about the Commissioner's personal life will be shared with readers.

I did find that there were too many characters in this book and it was often hard to keep them all straight. Either a character list at the beginning of the book of just fewer characters would have been helpful.

I also found it strange that halfway through the book the point of view changed from Commissioner Blume to the murderer. There was no clear distinction that the point of view was changing. My personal preference would have been for the point of view to stay with Commissioner Blume but at the very least some clear break in the book needs to be made if Mr. Fitzgerald wants to change points of view.

Overall, I thought "The Dogs of Rome" was an impressive first novel and will recommend it to anyone who has an interest in crime novels.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyed this
A very easy read but at the same time a story full of great characters described in some depth. Thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Published 7 days ago by Green Man
4.0 out of 5 stars It is an imperfect world out there in the messy streets of Rome, but...
Alec Blume is an imperfect cop in Rome, gradually perfecting his art. If you like a story with a great sense of place, a civilized pace, amusing segues, and sometimes foolish... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eve Williams
3.0 out of 5 stars It is a little slow;
It is a little slow; but since it seems to be the first in the series I will try the next one
Published 2 months ago by skatepark
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant read. Great story.
Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Good read!
Published 2 months ago by David R. Nunez
4.0 out of 5 stars Flawed character
interesting "outsider" view into crime in Italy. An almost assimilated American as a police detective in Rome weaves through the corruption inside and outside the police force.
Published 2 months ago by OmniChu
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good characters, solid story, I enjoyed it-I will read another from this author
Published 3 months ago by Bryan Bailey
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good first book establishing the primary character.
Published 3 months ago by Pasta Mark
3.0 out of 5 stars My first book from this author
This was my first book by this author and liked it alright. The bloody scenes tended to drag down the story line.
Published 4 months ago by AP
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
I took a flyer on this book because I'm hunting for a new detective series. This was inexpensive and reviews seemed decent (though the following books in the series had... Read more
Published 4 months ago by FL reader
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