'WHEN Martina accuses her ex-boyfriend of assault and battery, no witnesses can be persuaded to testify on her behalf.After all, he is the son of a powerful local judge, and one lawyer after another refuses to put their career on the line by representing her.Guido Guerrieri, however, cannot resist the appeal of an apparently hopeless cause, especially when he is asked to get involved by an attractive nun. A Walk in the Dark (£7.99, Bitter Lemon) is the third book by former anti-Mafia prosecutor Gianrico Carofiglio to be translated into English, following Involuntary Witness in which we were introduced to Guerrieri, and Reasonable Doubts. He is a marvellously lugubrious character, given to philosophical discussions with himself and self-deprecating humour, who enjoys martials arts, hates injustice and spends most of his personal life shuttling between his apartment and his girlfriend's two floors above.This is another literary thriller which is as much an insight into Italian everyday life as it is courtroom drama, making it a hugely enjoyable read which has won a number of awards. And at just 215 pages, it can almost be read in one sitting.Let's hope there's more to come from Carofiglio, who, as a lawyer, was responsible for some off the most important indictments in the Bari region involving organised crime, corruption and human trafficking, and who is now a member of the Italian senate.' - Newham Recorder
'Carofiglio is an ant-mafia prosecutor in the southern Italian city of Bari, and maybe someday he'll write a novel with a main character who faces the same kinds of challenges as he does. Until then we have this book (after 2005's Involuntary Witness), a best-seller in Italy, starring Bari defense lawyer Guido Guerrieri, who could have just gotten off an Alitalia flight from the land of Grisham or the Los Angeles of Michael Connelly's The Lincoln Lawyer. Guerrieri can't resist taking on a case no other lawyer will touch, that of Martina Fumai, who has accused her vicious ex-boyfriend, the son of a powerful judge, of assault. Colorful characters, unexpected plot twists and smooth, often sharp writing (“The best of Vietnamese New Wave… the kind of music I love so much I can even listen to it for five minutes at a stretch”) will keep readers turning the pages.'
- Publishers Weekly
'A novel as much about human nature and the passage of time as it is about law-breaking. Crisp laconic sentences, subtle shifts in tone and a seamless translation that should be commended.'- Times Literary Supplement
'Guido Guerrieri, that intrepid Cavafy-reading advocate practising in Bari, surprises us yet again, not just because here for once is an Italian character who loves hypermarkets, but by taking on an impossible case and a murderous adversary.
His partner, Margherita, is an example in feats of courage, set on gaining her parachuting licence under the instruction of two lesbian aeronauts. Guerrieri is scornful, "the lesbian licence, that's what they want you to take," he says. But the truth is, of course he's terrified of the big jump himself.
Scary, too, is the leap he has to take, into prosecuting an academic stalking a woman who comes to Guerrieri after other lawyers turned her down. Professor Scianatico is the son of a highly-placed judge, and the woman he's pursuing has an unfortunate history of psychological problems, which makes it even harder to plead her case, so easy it is for Scianatico to argue that she's a hysteric.
As Guerrieri puts his case together, he encounters an intriguing character - the most un-nunlike Sister Claudia, who runs a refuge for abused women. She defends them in a very physical sense, being an expert in "wing tsung" - a devilish oriental martial art which enables her to throw powerful young personages around in unarmed combat.
The essence of it is that you have to do exactly the opposite of what your opponent expects, a maxim which our lawyer applies to his court case. By bringing all his client's psychological problems out in open court, he takes the wind out of the opposition's sails.
But his troubles aren't over, for Scianatico is a determined and brutal control freak who is not going to allow his victim to escape.
By now, the big jump that Guerrieri is facing is taking on yet another layer of meaning, for he meets up with his old friend - indeed, practically his only friend - Enrico, and hears his wife has died of a cancer that ravaged her just a few months, and he is overwhelmed by the fragility of life.
Carofiglio plunges us even deeper into the sense of life's capricious cruelty by intercutting Guerrieri's story with flashbacks from the childhood of an unknown character - a raped and brutalised little girl who fought back and paid the price. Finally, Sister Claudia steps in once more, flexing her steel muscles to good effect. The tables are turned and the Scianatico family is destroyed.
Guerrieri has won through, but he must face the final test of courage - can he go through with the parachute jump?' - Independent
'At one level an exciting courtroom thriller, but what places it in a superior league is the portrayal of a slice of Italian society not normally encountered in crime fiction and an immensely appealing flawed hero.' - The Times
'A Walk in the Dark by Gianrico Carofiglio was selected as a “Christmas Book” by The Times (November 25, 2006), one of only eight crime novels in that category.- The Times
Marcel Berlins wrote: “Gianrico Carofiglio is himself an anti-Mafia judge and his novels reveal, warts and all, his insider knowledge of the Italian legal maze. In “A Walk in the Dark” the amiable Bari attorney Guido Guerrieri takes on cases that no one else wants, and comes into conflict with criminals and the sometimes equally corrupt legal establishment. Good courtroom scenes.'
The Scent of Fear
'Gianrico Carofiglio, a best-selling author and anti-mafia lawyer in Italy, also builds on his own work experience to give A Walk in the Dark, his Italian-style noir novel, plenty of punch. It's a legal procedural centered on the work of a lawyer, Guido Guerrieri. In a decision that seems destined to destroy his career, Guerrieri is moved by a woman's account of being stalked and assaulted to prosecute the son of a powerful judge.
Carofiglio is as adept at describing the details of Guerrieri's daily life as he is at detailing Italian courtroom procedure. While a hero such as Guerrieri –sensitive, a good cook-may be familiar (see Robert B. Parker's Spenser and numerous imitations) the Italian setting and the legal details are fascinating. And Guerrieri's keen nose for food and scents that most of us hardly notice in daily living also helps him as a detective: he can smell people's fear.
In addition, one of his helpmates, Sister Claudia, is a true original: a bruiser of a nun who dons jeans rather than a habit and can out-box an opponent literally blindfolded. It's clear she will stop at nothing to protect the woman in her care from further victimization.'- Washington Post
'Guido Guerreri is getting himself in trouble again: this time risking the wrath of all the vested interests and violent machismo of the southern Italian city in which he works, in order to help a woman battered by her well-connected husband. No other lawyer will touch the case, but despite the considerable risks involved, Guerreri - whose grudging attachment to hopeless cases is matched only by his constitutional pessimism - can't refuse. Nor can he deny an attraction to the beautiful and damaged Sister Claudia, the young woman who runs the shelter where the victim is staying.
Gianrico Carofiglio has parlayed personal courage and political success into serious literary fame. For many years he was an anti-mafia prosecutor in Southern Italy, combating organised crime, corruption and human trafficking. Now a member of the Italian Senate, his series of legal procedural thrillers featuring the morose, principled, literate and occasionally infuriating Guerreri have sold over two and a half million copies in Italy alone. A Walk in the Dark is the second of this series, and Howard Curtis' fine translation for Bitter Lemon Press brings a modern Italian phenomenon to British readers: a crime novel that's as introspective as it is page-turning, as powerfully affecting as it is thrilling.' - Book Trust