I Will Have Vengeance, by Maurizio de Giovanni. Published 2013 by Europa Editions.
That was my first reaction to finishing this firecracker of a who-dun-it
by Italian crime writer Maurizio de Giovanni. Set in 1931 Naples during
Mussolini's reign, I Will Have Vengeance tells the story
of the murder of Arnaldo Vezzi, a larger-than-life tenor and star of the
opera. An all-around jerk, Vezzi is pushy, arrogant, bossy,
self-centered- and extremely talented. But he is a star, and the
livelihoods of many people depend on him, so he's catered to and
deferred to, at least until he crosses the one person in his life most
vulnerable to his mercurial temperament.
Ricciardi, a reclusive bachelor from an aristocratic family, is assigned
the case, because Ricciardi has an impressive track record when it
comes to tracking down murderers. He also has a secret- he can see
visions of the dead in their final moments. This ability is a liability
and an asset; he can gain valuable clues but the images can also mislead
him. They are also very traumatizing for him, and the emotional
suffering he feels at being so close to death, all the time, is one
reason why he is so reclusive. Other policemen think he's weird and
avoid him, except for Brigadier Maione, who feels a kinship with the
And away they go. Along the way we
meet a colorful cast of theatrical characters, get a taste of life,
death and police politics under Mussolini and experience Naples of the
1930s. The plot proceeds briskly, peppered with lots of details of time
and place. Ricciardi arrests a suspect, but it becomes clear that that's
only the first step to solving this crime. Ricciardi
believes all motives can be boiled down to two basic principles, love
and hunger, and bases his investigative technique on a psychological as
well as physical examination of the crime and those close to it. When he
learns the truth about this one, he has to ask himself some hard
questions about what justice really means, and how best to pursue it. A
must-read for crime fans, I Will Have Vengeance is a home run; I can't wait to read the next de Giovanni in my pile!
(And my bookstore customers agree- everyone I know who's read this has come back for more from de Giovanni.)
This is my tenth book for the 2013 Challenge!
I received this book for review from Europa Editions.