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Almost Blue (City Lights Italian Voices) Paperback – October 1, 2001
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The most well known Italian sleuths (Dibdin's Aurelio Zen, Leon's Guido Brunetti) are aging melancholics. Lucarelli, who sings in a postpunk band and has written 11 novels (this is his first to appear in the U.S.), gives us Grazia Negro, a hip, young female detective working with a newly formed unit designed to track serial killers. There's one on the loose in Bologna, preying on university students and cruising the city's underground music clubs. What gives this novel its spark is Negro's encounter with Simone, a young blind man who spends his time listening to jazz and tuning into the sounds of the city on his scanner, which captures the voice of the killer. Lucarelli's characterization of Simone is fascinating, especially the detailed exposition of how the blind man hears what we see. His romance with Negro proves utterly believable and remarkably erotic. There are a few ragged plot edges here, but nothing to deter us from the conclusion that Lucarelli is a fresh and exciting new voice in Italian crime fiction. Keep the translations coming. Bill Ott
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
...flows with vivid sensuality: as I read...I could almost hear the sultry saxophone moaning a dim back-alley refrain... -- SOMA Magazine, July 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
The setting for this story is Bologna, a major university center, where a serial killer is at work among the student population. It has taken the Italian police sometime to reach the conclusion that six murders are connected, but the elite forensic science unit that has made the connection is on the scene in the persona of Inspector Grazia Negro. She becomes one of the three narrators of this tale and her own personal/professional stories become part of the telling.
The rest of the story's narration is shared by the serial killer and Simone Martini, a young blind man who lives an isolated world of others' radio/phone conversations and colors that he assigns to their voices. It is Simone who holds the key to the serial killer's identity and it is Simone who eventually becomes the killer's obsession and target.
Lucarelli has created an intense and complex story that grabs the reader after a few pages of adjustment to the tone and organizaton of the book. Highly recommended.
What a delight to happen upon this Lucarelli book! Grazia Negro enters the book world of female cop detectives for English readers with this translation. This is a crime noir novel with signifigant twists from the ordinary. Besides the fast-paced complelling plot of tracking the serial killer, these pages also invite the reader into the world of Simone, a blind Bologna native, who provides the distinctive experience of seeing through a blind man's senses -unheard of in the usual crime/detective novel. The effect is poetic, lyrical, and fresh. The quality of translation is clear in that the reader also perceives the richness of the Italian experience, with just enough original Italian phrasing left by Stransky and with Lucarelli's pictoral journeys through the city to provide these nuances. Lucarelli, musician that he is, serendipidiously provides morsels of contemporary music which the xgen folks particularly will enjoy: NIN, Chet Baker, Costello and more.
Crime buffs, book-lovers who enjoy thrillers and mysteries, especially those jaded by books in those genre which seem written in canned formulas these days, will welcome this new arrival.
If Lucarelli has 10 more untranslated novels, keep them coming Ms. Stransky. An eager audience awaits.
ALMOST BLUE is a very well written psychological suspense drama. It is quite unique in its structure. Chapters or actually sections alternate with point of view between the killer's, Simone's and Grazia. The chapters are quite short keeping the pacing rapid throughout. The length of the book is more that of a novella yet works perfectly for the drama portrayed. The end result is a chilling portrayal of the criminal mind.