Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Book Review: A Walk In the Dark by Gianrico Carofiglio

Gianrico Carofiglio's books are described on the jackets as mysteries, but in reality they're legal thrillers, with a side dish of psychological insight into the character of Avvocato Guido Guerrieri, the hero of Carofiglio's novels. Fortunately, Guerrieri is an engaging character; well-read, a film buff, a fan of American rock 'n roll, and reluctantly committed to doing the right thing in his legal career.

In A Walk In the Dark, Guerrieri is representing a young woman who is charging her ex-boyfriend with assault, and therein lies the appeal of Carofiglio's books; he doesn't give Guerrieri sensational or improbable cases. Carofiglio shows us how much drama can come out of pedestrian criminal cases. His previous novel, Involuntary Witness, was about a child murder, but it didn't offer any sensationalism, just the patient defence of a man accused of a crime he didn't commit. This most recent novel has a thrillerish conclusion, but still earns most of its appeal from Guerrieri's clever undoing of his client's attacker. The main weaknesses of the novel are Guerrieri's improbable, but fleeting, relationship with nun named Claudia, and the ending, which is largely predictable.

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