Thursday, October 6, 2011

Anchors Aweigh

Carte Blanche is my second foray into Italian noir following Death's Dark Abyss. The body count may be higher in Carte Blanche, but I felt that in some ways Carte Blanche avoided (for better or worse) the bleakness of Death's Dark Abyss. I will certainly be reading the second two novels in Lucarelli's De Luca series. Lizzy did a great job a few days ago with the series as a whole so I will not step on her toes there- check out her post!

De Luca is the best kind of character. He surprises, he frustrates, he pursues he keeps the reader guessing while building a rapport. I felt less like an observer and more like a fellow policeman on the case with him. And what a case! What begins as a "simple" murder case quickly becomes complicated. You have the competing interests of 16 different police forces, multiple political factions and fractious family ties. On top of all that, there's this little conflict soon to be known as World War II raging just north. None of this helps De Luca in his search to find his man. None of this is able to breach his stoic non-plussed non-political veneer either.

Death's Dark Abyss took violence as a bomb, showing the reader the inescapable ripples violence brings to all involved. Carte Blanche goes the other way. There may not be a way to avoid or control violence, but there may be a way to survive it. De Luca is sleep-deprived, unkempt and haggard, but he is determined to to find justice no matter the cost. His drive for justice keeps him sane and in some respects shelters him from the insanity going on around him. His actions and outbursts may come across as crazy to some, but upon closer look they serve as ventings against a system being pushed and pulled by so many opposing forces that each man must find his own anchor is he's to survive.

That anchor to me was the central tenet of the book. Based on the author's foreword, I feel that De Luca is representative of so many in Italy at this time. I can imagine that though their anchors may have been different, their origin and their need was the same. It made me question what my anchor woudl be if I had to endure such times. I can't wait for the next chapter in this trilogy!