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  • Reviews for The Mannequin Man by Luca Di Fulvio
  • Luca Di Fulvio |  Review |  The Mannequin Man
Reviews for The Mannequin Man by Luca Di Fulvio

'Di Fulvio exposes souls with the skills of a surgeon. It's like turning the pages of something forbidden-seductive, elegant and dangerous.'

- Alan Rickman

'The book, originally published as L'Impagliatore in 2000, has already been filmed as Occhi di Cristallo (Eyes of Crystal) in 2003, the year strangely enough, when the book was voted one of the ten best European crime novels by the French magazine Le Point. The film, shot in Bulgaria, gives an idea of the descent into Hell, as the investigator loses himself in the maze of his investigation.
In an unnamed city, plagued with a binmen's strike that is causing outbreaks of violence and discord, Inspector Giacomo Amaldi has to deal with a psycho killer, an attractive girl frightened by a stalker, and the deranged mind of a colleague dying of cancer. We start in the mind of the killer - a hunter of animals, and a stuffer of their carcasses. Driven to extremes by the sight of animal passion and voyeurism too close to his own nature, he commits murder. It is the nature of these initial murders that draws Amaldi to the case. Soon, however, he is embroiled in a series of bizarre killings where parts of the victims' bodies are replaced by sections of a life-size wooden mannequin. Amaldi is a difficult and introverted man, with no real friends, and the memory of a love lost in violent circumstances. It is his lost love's resemblance to a young female student that also involves him in a case of stalking and obscene correspondence. Giuditta Luzzatti, the student, comes from a similarly deprived background to Amaldi, and they seem to be drawn to each other. Amaldi's colleague, Nicola Frese is investigating an old case concerning a fire at an orphanage, which intersects with the past of the killer. Also crossing the path of these characters are the lives of Giuditta's professor, Avildsen, and the dying detective, Ajaccio.
Intertwining psychological analysis, and sociology, in a way that only a European writer can, Di Fulvio slowly builds the tension until the climax that leaves the reader on a knife-edge of tension. Di Fulvio, apparently a self-avowed schizophrenic, juxtaposes horrifically detailed images of mutilated bodies, with delicate internal investigations of the mind. The gradual degradation of the city, as it sinks under its own refuse, deftly mirrors the growing derangement of the killer's mind. And though Di Fulvio clearly doesn't mind if the reader can guess who the killer really is before the end - he does leave clear clues - it does not matter to the final conclusion. The separate elements of the story intersect and finally blend in an elegant way that has nothing of the coincidental about it. It is a powerful and deeply disturbing novel in the very best sense.'

- Tangled Web

'The story is tense, vibrant and majestically told. Luca Di Fulvio's writing stops at nothing and with the same serenity in which he describes his characters and ambience he moves on to scenes of unimaginable cruelty. If until now (due to social conditions reflected in literature) it has been the Americans who were the uncontested masters of horror, what is the significance of an excellent, convincing Italian noir?'

- La Gazzetta di Parma

'A wonderful first novel that will seduce the fans of deranged murderers in the style of Hannibal Lecter. And beautifully written to boot.'

- RTL

'This dark and convulsive novel has a very singular characteristic: it is the first attempt - and a successful one - to bring the Italian thriller back to the forefront. More than noir, it is a real
dark novel, a surprise that permits Luca Di Fulvio to take a decisive place among our authors of thrillers. In America, they would already be making the film.'

- La Stampa

'This is a story that combines suspenseful plotting with deeply human characters.'

- The Good Book Guide

'First Published in 2000, it was shortlisted for the European crime Writing Prize. An honour well deserved.'

- Nottingham Evening Post

'Di Fulvio adheres to the European tradition of literary crime fiction - elegant writing, with rather more emphasis on psychoanalysis and sociology than we're used to from British and US authors.'

- The Morning Star

'From an almost fetishistically detailed opening of a hunting trip that ends in human butchery, we're into the seedy side of an unnamed, Genoa based Italian city that goes where the guidebooks don't show you. Inspector Amaldi is working in the midst of a bin strike only hammers the point of this engrossingly detailed but unflinchingly sordid voyage home.'

- The List

'The Mannequin Man is a powerful psycho-thriller of spine-shivering intensity. In a city that resembles Genoa, the rubbish collectors are on strike, creating an atmosphere of panic and decay, and a mad killer is at large, leaving clues to the identity of his victims but no sane explanations of his reasons. Chief Inspector Giacomo Amaldi, a man haunted by his past, gloomily investigates. The murders are somehow also linked to an arson three decades before when an orphanage was set on fire and the children burned to death. Without realising it, a dying policeman holds the key. The Mannequin Man is dark, slightly too long, but written with immense intelligence and passionate menace. Not to be read alone at night.'

- The Times
'A novel that caresses and kisses in order to violate the reader with greater ease.' - Rolling Stone

'Luca Di Fulvio's dark and convulsive novel has a very singular characteristic: it is the first attempt - and a successful one - to bring the Italian thriller back to the forefront.
More than noir, it is a real dark novel, a surprise that permits Luca Di Fulvio to take a decisive place among our authors of thrillers. In America, they would already be making the film.'

- Cuttolibri
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