Star rating – 7/10
If you are like me a lover of crime fiction, and you haven’t discovered the Bitter Lemon Press, then you have a treat in store. They publish quality crime fiction and thrillers, often set in far away exotic locations. My own favourite discovery from them so far is Gianrico Carofiglio, who has just published his fourth novel featuring Italian lawyer Guido Guerrieri, ‘Temporary Perfections’.
Carofiglio’s background is particularly interesting, for before he discovered his talent for penning books, he was a prosecutor in the Italian city of Bari in Puglia, who specialised in prosecuting members of the mafia. And he uses his personal experiences to add depth and colour to Guerrieri’s own legal career. He does have some of the, by now, obligatory tick list features of a crime fiction hero. These inevitably include failed personal relationships; the inability to achieve a healthy work/life balance; and a penchant for fine food and alcohol, sometimes to excess.
But despite this adherence to the formula, Carofiglio achieves a gritty pace to his books, which are always a cracking read. If anything this fourth one is slightly less strong than the previous three, as there does not seem to be that much sleuthing or legal work involved. But Guerrieri makes full use of past clients he has, usually successfully it has be said, defended, such as ex prostitutes, drug dealers and Mafioso, to get to the bottom of the disappearance of the daughter of a rich Bari family. If only he could resist the temptations of a young pretty girl to flatter his mid life crisis...Carofiglio also achieves a wonderful sense of Bari, the backstreets and underbelly of which are centre stage in his stories, with the odd venture to Rome and other Italian cities thrown in for good measure. If you take my advice, and you know you want to, you will head straight for the first instalment of the legal adventures of Guido Guerrieri, ‘Involuntary Witness’ and work your way through the following three books too, as the nights draw in, and there is nothing better than a good crime book to keep you amused.