Gianrico Carofiglio just gets better and better.
'In his latest novel Reasonable Doubts defence lawyer Guido Guerrieri is asked to deal with the appeal of Fabio Paolicelli, who is facing a 16 year sentence for drug smuggling.
Paolicelli initially confessed to the crime in order to make sure his wife was not arrested. He does not remember Guido, but Guido remembers him as the fascist thug who terrorised his teenage years.Guerrieri is inclined not to take the case until he meets Paolicelli's beautiful half Japanese wife Natsu Kawabata.
"There's a reception and I am taking care of the buffet. Japanese food with a few variants of my own creation."
The body work of Paolicelli's car had been found to contain 40 kilos of cocaine on the family's return from a holiday in Montenegro. A mysterious lawyer Avvocato Corrado Macri had been recommended by a stranger to defend Paolicelli and had not made much of an effort while claiming everything was in hand.
Guerrieri is not sure of the inncocence or guilt of his client, but is sure about the atractiveness of his client's wife.With the help of Carmelo Tancredi, a policeman friend, Guerrieri investigates the case and the possibility that the car had been tampered with in the hotel car park in Montenegro.
Guerrieri is a very interesting character, and certainly he is very distraught at being left by Margherita at the beginning of the book. In this vulnerable state he begins a relationship with Natsu. He wonders if he really wants to free Paolicelli, or have him serve his time in prison while he enjoys a family life with his wife and young daughter.
"She came and sat down next to me on the sofa......One thing led to another......It was the last rational thought I had last night " "I would have said this lawyer was a piece of shit. "
I love the first person conversational style of these books and the legal details about the Italian legal system. The characters are well drawn, and above all you feel every minute of Guido's struggle with both the case and with his conscience. The questions posed by the plot keep you reading right through to the end, and as an interesting sub plot Guido Guerrieri, the fictional lawyer, wants to become a writer.
Well the real life Gianrico Carofiglio, until recently an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Bari and now advisor to the Italian Parliament on organized crime, has definitely become an excellent writer.'
- Crime Scraps www.camberwell-crime.blogspot.com
'When Italian attorney Guido Guerrieri's received a request to be Fabio Paolicelli's defense counsel for an upcoming drug conviction appeal, the name seemed vaguely familiar. When his potential client turned out to be Fabio "Rayban ", one of the Fascist thugs who beat him up as a kid, Guido knew he shouldn't accept the apparently airtight case. After 40 kilos were found in the family car, Fabio made a full confession to authorities, supposedly to keep Natsu Kawabata, his beautiful half-Japanese wife clear of a drug rap. Fabio insists the drugs were not his but had been planted in the car while it was parked at a resort, an unlikely story at best. As Guido begins examining the case, he verifies Fabio's story about Corrado Racri, a strange lawyer who takes an inordinate interest in Fabio's car. Against everything Guido knows is right, he agrees to take Fabio's case, based in no small part on Natsu's loveliness. Still reeling from his girlfriend's defection to America at a time when he expected to become a parent, Guido finds himself daydreaming about making a family with Natsu. Fortunately, he remains grounded in reality, which is a good thing because as the mystery deepens, he'll need to stay focused on the job at hand.Although first and foremost a cerebral thriller, Guido must deal with the issues that come with middle age, a failed relationship and lost dreams. Handled with a deft touch, these serve to flesh out our flawed hero without being cumbersome and make for a thoughtful read.'- Monstersandcritics2
'The third outing for defence lawyer Guido Guerrieri is, if possible, even better than the previous two. At the start, Guido decides he loves his girlfriend Margherita and wants to have a child with her - though of course he doesn't tell her this, but assumes she'll tell him she's pregnant. Instead, she moves from Bari to New York for a new job. Guido mourns her absence and is sad that she doesn't come home for Christmas, but naturally does not contact her himself, so spends most of the book plagued by introspective worrying, feeling rejected and thinking that the relationship is over.
Guido has a similar attitude to his work. Feeling as if he is not much good as a lawyer, he's actually a lot cleverer than most of the rest of the legal profession who feature, simply by bothering about his job. The vignettes when clients visit his office are delightful, particularly a mother and daughter duo who had me laughing out loud. On the occasions when Guido contacts old friends and acquaintances for advice or help, he comes over not as he sees himself, but as a charming and witty person who they are only too eager to assist, so long as the cost to their own safety is not too great. This is the land of the mafia, after all.
Guido's latest client is Fabio Paolicelli, in prison for admitting to smuggling a large quantity of heroin in his car while returning from holiday in Montenegro. Recognizing the name, Guido is convinced that Fabio was part of a Fascist gang who tormented him and other boys when he was young, but his memory is at odds with the sincere prisoner he encounters when they meet in person. A mutual respect develops between the two men as Guido finds out more about how Fabio came to be in the predicament he finds himself to be in.
The situation becomes complicated when Guido meets Fabio's beautiful wife Natsu and their young daughter. Guido's feelings are, predictably, mixed and his loyalties confused. Gradually, Guido pieces together a plausible alternative hypothesis for the crime in order to create reasonable doubts in the prosecution's account; the main joy of the book is the court case, the behaviour of the various witnesses and the reactions of the judges.
A thread running through this story, as in previous books in the series, is Guido's love of books and reading. There are some lovely scenes between him and the local bookseller, and some hints as to a future career in writing. Time will tell.
REASONABLE DOUBTS is an unpretentious, shiningly true book. Despite his own inner doubts, Guido enjoys his simple life of reading, going to the cinema to see old movies, occasional cooking and hanging out in his coastal home town, and the reader can only too well identify with his values. Fabio's story shows that change is possible: even for a youth who starts out as a thug can become a wiser man. Or can he? As you can imagine, Guido doesn't ask him, so we are left with some reasonable doubts about that.
The translation, by Howard Curtis, flows naturally, and I am sure other readers will, like me, be grateful to Bitter Lemon Press and the Arts Council of the UK for publishing this wonderful author in the English Language.'
'Gianrico Carofiglio continues his series of legal thrillers with his latest Guido Guerrieri title, Reasonable Doubts. These are not mysteries (or even thrillers) in the traditional sense; while there is certainly a level of tension throughout as Guerrieri tries to get to the truth, there are no car chases or late-night episodes of running for your life. Instead the author dwells more on thoughtful consideration of the right thing to do and the nasty backroom deal-making that is so prevalent in society but rarely exposed. Guerrieri does tread on some dangerous territory, but the bigger concerns are for his soul, or at least his morals, in this new book. The question he must answer, while trying to prove his client innocent, is what kind of man he chooses to be. Pretty heavy literary stuff, but Carofiglio pulls it off wonderfully, with the wry sense of humor and world weariness that readers have come to expect from this character.
The mystery is fairly straightforward: Fabio Paolicelli was returning from vacation with his wife and daughter when his vehicle was searched at the border and a large number of illegal drugs were discovered. Paolicelli admitted guilt and received a harsh sentence. Now his wife wishes to hire Guerrieri to prove her husband innocent. They both admit that he pleaded guilty merely to protect his family (there was a suggestion that his wife would be charged as well) and his initial attorney was someone they had never met who, in retrospect, seemed to have come to their aid for some rather unsavory reasons. Guerrieri must decide if he can believe his client and from there figure out just who took advantage of his car and loaded it up with the drugs. Things get complicated pretty quickly, though, when Guerrieri recognizes Paolicelli as a bully from his childhood and doesn't really want to help him; it gets even worse when he can't get the wife out of his mind and she seems to feel the same way.
Yeah, you can see where all this is going.
The drug trail is complicated but the author lays it out perfectly as Guerrieri works to uncover the true criminals while still remaining uncertain as to how far he wants to take the case. Along the way he exhibits his trademark sly wit and makes several pop culture references that will likely amuse American readers. (Ben Grimm, Schwarzenegger, and The Twilight Zone for just a few). Guerrieri is also a particularly literary character (he reminds me a bit of Spenser in that way) and mentions James Joyce, The Long Goodbye and Grace Paley, among others. Heck-this is a character who mentions Bob Dylan's "Hurricane" at one point. While the book is certainly set in Italy, American readers will feel right at home and likely fall as hard for Guido Guerrieri as I have.'
'Books to Brighten Up your Summer': 'Those off to Chiantishire may like to read some relatively local criminal proceedings. Reasonable Doubts is the third case featuring Guido Guerrieri. This time Gianrico Carofiglio (a former anti-Mafia prosecutor in Bari) has the defence lawyer handling the appeal of a drug smuggler and neo-fascist thug - none of which prevents him from bedding his client's half-Japanese wife.' - Evening Standard
'Tight writing, multi-dimensional characters and a story to tell sum up the work of Gianrico Carofiglio, a former anti-Mafioso judge in southern Italy. His third novel is a legal thriller with a dab of philosophy like a sweet sauce with a sprinkling of freshly grated Parmesan. This time Counsel Guido Guerrieri is asked to appeal the case of a man convicted of drug smuggling. An open and shut case with a confession doesn't really seem winnable but after becoming involved with the smugglers beautiful exotic wife, Guido takes the case. To continue the metaphor there are as many twists and turns as a bowl of spaghetti and it's just as enjoyable.' - Mystery Lovers Bookshop
'Gianrico Carofiglio is another Italian crime writer who writes what he knows. Michele Giuttari is a detective and Carofiglio was an anti-mafia prosecutor. His character is a defense lawyer in Bari, but has frequent cause to delve into the world of prosecutors, detectives, and mafias (mostly that of Calabria, also the former stomping ground of Giuttari). But Carofiglio's writing is understated and natural, without the (sometimes unfortunate, to me) dramatics of his fellow countryman's writing. In this third novel featuring Guido Guerrieri, the lawyer is dumped into a case that includes a former Fascist thug who may be a murderer and is now charged with drug smuggling (he says he was framed), a beautiful Japanese-Italian wife and mother, a mafia lawyer, and his own continuing funk (he's now been left by two women). Guido is a charming guide to his legal quandaries and his disastrous private life, and part of his charm is his self-effacing attitude--he's always uncertain, guilty, and tentative in his dealings with both women and the law. He's also no detective--he relies on informants in the police and the prosecutor's office, and his inquiries on behalf of his clients move forward naturally, without much effort on his part (but with much worry and consternation). Along the way, we get to see the daily life in Bari, the chief city of Puglia, a region of Italy not often open to us through fiction (much less crime fiction). These novels are low-key masterpieces of the form--I don't often read legal thrillers, but Carofiglio's are not limited by the typical theatrics of that genre. Reasonable Doubts doesn't turn on the uncovering of key evidence or revelations on the witness stand: it proceeds by means of Guido's determination, his occasional insights, and the genuine conviction of his arguments in court. As is occasionally mentioned by his clients and others who know him, he's a good man. Highly recommended.'- International Noir Fiction
'Since the SFHR is usually appealed to when works of merit can't find appropriate reviews, we were slightly mystified to be sent the new legal thriller by Gianrico Carofiglio, which comes adorned with blurbs from the New Yorker and the London Times. "Carofiglio writes crisp, ironical novels, " the New Yorker's reviewer tells us, "that are as much love stories and philosophical treatises as they are legal thrillers. " Reasonable Doubts is his third novel featuring a Guido Guerrieri, a public defender. Carofiglio knows his subject the way John le Carre knows spies-from the inside. Carofiglio (b. 1961), before retiring to write full-time, was - his publisher informs us - "an anti-Mafia prosecutor in the city of Bari in Southern Italy… responsible for some of the most important indictments in Puglia involving corruption and the traffic in human beings. " But, like the early le Carre, he's rather a stylist too. He was won the Bancarella Prize and is translated into more than ten languages.
So, I reflected, one would imagine that Reasonable Doubts would be appearing from a major New York publishing house on its way to join Jeffrey Deaver, Michael Connelly, John Grisham, and John Lescroart on the best-seller list. Instead, the volume I unwrapped came from the Bitter Lemon Press in London, which had published two other Carofiglio novels before this. And it had been sent to the SFHR, a scholarly reviewer.
Like a character in a Carofiglio novel, one holds the book in one's hand and says, "What's going on? This doesn't add up. " Trying to find the answer to this mystery turned into an interesting lesson in what keeps a book popular in Europe from popularity in America. But since reviews are not articles and should tell the reader quickly whether he or she wants to read this book, the answer is yes, the educated readers of the SFHR certainly do. But the reason that they want to is precisely the reason that Carofiglio isn't a bestseller in the USA, the reason that the average reader would be displeased with Carofiglio. By the middle of this enjoyable book, I was radically updating my idea of Southern Italy.
The first suspect in such a matter - one always suspects the family first - is Carofiglio's translator, Howard Curtiss. Has Mr. Curtiss, working in London for Bitter Lemon, translated the book into English or into British? That's often part of the answer. On page 13, the American reader, puzzling over a hero who remembers defiantly "I didn't take off my anorak, you fucking Fascists, and I remember your faces. One day I'll get my own back on you, " has to do a second mental translation: "one day I'll get even. " Someone has prevented Mr. Curtiss from translating freely; or from providing editorial help. The author's thought remains stuck back over on the Italian side, unable to cross over to us. On page 12, the hero, Guido Guerrieri, meeting his defendant for the first time, recognizes him as "Fabio Rayban… a Fascist thug. " "We called him that because he always wore sunglasses at night. Rayban had been part of the military squad that had stabbed to death an 18-year-old Communist who suffered from polio. " Given Guerrieri's age, we're not talking about Mussolini's Fascists, as I first assumed. I soon realized that during the nearly forgotten European Culture Wars of the late 60s and early 70s, the right wing was popularly called "fascist. "
Guerrieri himself had had a long-ago run-in with Fabio. He had wandered into an area which the Fascists controlled wearing "a green anorak that I was very proud of. "
-But now the reader may wish to interrupt me, "Anorak? " Actually, I had to look it up. It is not, as I thought, a parka. It is a kind of tight hooded sweatshirt, apparently, usually worn with the hood up (my son might call it a "hoodie ") though a lot warmer than a sweatshirt. None of which explained why the Fascists "approached me and told me I was a Red bastard, and I should take off that fucking anorak immediately. " When he won't, they tell him, "Take it off, Comrade, " and beat him up. But in spite of everything, Guerrieri never does. And swears vengeance. What in the world?
It took considerable researching on Wikipedia's Italian version to discover that during the riot era, the "anorak " became the trademark garb of Leftist youths, somewhat the way the pea coat was for the hippies in 1967 and 1968. If you didn't know that Guerrieri had been part of that youthful scene, you'd never understand him quite right, or understand why he hated Rayban so much.
Was the publisher was unwilling either to provide a helpful footnote or to free the translator to add a sentence explaining the significance of the anorak to the Fascists. Certainly a practical man of the world like Carofiglio would have permitted it, though James Joyce might not have. If they ever translate my book on Italian American culture into Italian, I have decided, I am going to demand it.
Could Bitter Lemon not at least have run the book past an American translator, who might have red-flagged the rare phrases that were stiff in one culture though not in England?
But neither Britishisms nor incomprehensible pop cultural references were the biggest problem that Reasonable Doubts faced finding a popular audience in America.
As you may have guessed, Guerrieri (who is something like a public defender, but grander) has just recognized that the defendant he has been assigned under Italy's legal system to defend is Fabio Rayban, now married and in middle age. Rayban doesn't recognize his old victim. Guerrieri is ready to recuse himself until Rayban's wife comes in - but let me set this up.A few doors down the hall from me here at SF State was Frances Mayes, Professor of Creative Writing. Frances was a good academic poet who almost accidentally made millions of dollars a few years ago writing up her real-life retirement adventure in Tuscany. She bought a farmhouse, and remodeled it: Under the Tuscan Sun. It stayed on the New York Times best-seller list for over a year. The glamorous Diane Lane (35?) played Frances (70) in the movie version. Frances has spun off sequels since, including a popular cookbook. She has captured an American fantasy about Italy. Carofiglio has not. He's too Italian to write well about Italy for Americans.
When I saw that this book would take place in Bari, I smiled nostalgically. In the 1960s, I had taken a train out into that area to stay with the relatives of my teacher, Charles Calitri (lionized by another student, Frank McCourt in his memoire, 'Tis'). I knew I was getting close to Mr. Calitri's village when I saw women washing clothes in a stream and beating them on rocks. There were no cars in the village, only burros. Staring out of the rattling train's open windows, I half-expected to see Sophia Loren walking up the cobblestone streets of Mr. Calitri's Panni, barefoot and wearing a scowl and a torn dress, like in Two Women. Bari, where the book takes place, is just another few hours ride on that train. But that was before the Italian Economic Miracle. Bari has changed.
In Carofiglio's novel, Fabio Rayban's wife isn't Sophia Loren in a torn dress, but a beautiful Japanese woman named Natsu Kawabata. Natsu works as a sushi chef. In Bari! "Three evenings a week, she worked at a restaurant. She mentioned the name of a fashionable spot - but she also made sushi, sashimi, and tempura for private parties thrown by people who could afford it. "
A "fashionable sushi spot " in Bari? Private tempura parties? An afternoon's drive from where Bonaventura Calitri taught me to go to his hen house, and eat a raw egg with a shot of grappa for breakfast? Infamia! And on the next page, when Guerrieri sits down to consider his options, does he pour himself an Orvieto Classico Bigi and listen to an aria? No! The son of a bitch listens to "the latest Leonard Cohen album, Dear Heather, on the CD player. " I was completely bummed out. This is not tourist Italy, and that after all is what the mass market would be looking for; and me too. Taking an armchair trip to Italy to watch them eating sushi and listening to Leonard Cohen wasn't what I had in mind when I sat down on the couch with the book. When Guerrieri, mad with love for Natsu, walks through the midnight streets, he says, "I was in a strange place, an unknown area of my consciousness, a black and white film with a dramatic, melancholic soundtrack, in which Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day stood out. I often listen to that song, and it echoed almost obsessively in my head during my nocturnal walks. " The first rock concert I took my son to was a Green Day concert. I have to go all the way to Italy to listen to Green Day?
But by the middle of this fast-paced book, I was hooked, and couldn't put it down. I had to find out if Guerrieri would send the bastard Fabio Rayban up the river by blowing his defense, to get the enchanting Natsu. There's a powerful complication. Guerrieri, a childless man just dumped by his fiancé, doesn't want Natsu as much as he wants her adorable daughter, who is so young she would forget her birth father, Fabio Rayban, and accept Guerrieri. It's not often you get the chance to take not only your enemy's wife, but his child. And in this case, it would be a rescue.
No wonder these books have been bestsellers in Europe, where the readers aren't surprised or disappointed to read about an Italy more modern than 1961 Sophia Loren flicks.
And the SFHR reader will similarly come to enjoy, as I did, learning about an Italy so different from one's tourist memories.
And yet. Is it really so wrong to want to revisit, in fictional form, those memories, that Italy? Given a choice between this book and Roman Holiday - set in a tourist Italy, but also an Italy before the Italians got globalized into Green Day fans-which would you choose?
Yesterday morning, I went to the Apple store in Palo Alto to buy a Firewire cable. In the parking lot, a man in a late-model black SUV accosted me and asked me, in Italian, if I was an Italian. I realized he was wearing an Armani suit with tailor's marks on it and the label on the outside. Interesting. I said yes. He then explained to me that he was in a complicated legal situation, which meant he had to get rid of these Armani suits in the van at a greatly reduced price. I declined. He asked me where in Italy I was from, and this time I said here.
He said, irked at having wasted his time, "But you looked Italian! " I told him thank you, but I'm not. Believe me, I'm not. Just a tourist.' - San Francisco Humanities Review
'We move to mainland Italy for Reasonable Doubts by Gianrico Carofiglio (Bitter Lemon Press, £7.99), a courtroom drama set in the port of Bari. There defence lawyer Guido Guerrieri is hired to prepare an appeal for local man Fabio who's been convicted of drug smuggling. Fabio swears he's innocent but his rather unconvincing defence is that his initial confession was coerced and that the cocaine was hidden in his car during his foreign holiday by persons unknown.There's a further complication. When Guido was a teenager he was a member of a leftist group that was beaten up by a fascist street gang and he recognises his new client as one of the thugs.- Morning Star
Carofiglio's lean, sharp novels are as refreshing as a sorbet and Guido, melancholy and philosophical, is in the classic tradition of hardboiled heroes.'
'The role of the Bari-based lawyer Guido Guerrieri is to take on impossible cases that have little chance of success. In Reasonable Doubts, by Gianrico Carofiglio, translated by Howard Curtis, his client is appealing against his conviction and lengthy sentence for drug smuggling; he's also a former neo-fascist thug who had once beaten up Guerrieri. The lawyer accepts the case only because he's fallen in lust with the prisoner's wife; his efforts to prove his client's innocence bring him into dangerous conflict with Mafia interests. Everything a legal thriller should be.' - The Times
'This is a thinking man's legal thriller. The third novel to feature defense lawyer Guido Guerrieri, Reasonable Doubts centers on Guerrieri's efforts to clear a man convicted of drug trafficking after having been caught entering Italy with a car packed full of cocaine. Complicating matters is the fact that Guerrieri's new client may or may not be a former fascist thug who once beat up his new lawyer for wearing the wrong color coat, and the fact that Guerrieri finds himself hopelessly smitten with his new client's wife. His client, called Fabio Rayban, because of the brand of sunglasses he used to favor, might also be guilty.
Carofiglio, a former mafia prosecutor in Bari, where he sets his novels, does not provide any easy answers. The legal system renders verdicts, either guilty or not guilty, but the legal system is just a social construct set up to help people deal with complex sets of facts, and, even after a verdict is rendered, questions about the truth often remain. The author's background and experience help him paint a vivid picture of the ambiguous nature of much legal work.
The book is slow at points, however, and may be a bit underwhelming for readers whose tastes run to two-fisted action or sensational crimes. It's truly a novel of the legal system, and most of the action takes place in offices and courtrooms. The denouement is also a little too convenient. The protagonist, after having brought unwanted attention to some organized crime elements while trying to clear his client, has all of the impending danger disappear through a stroke of coincidence. After a long story about how easy answers aren't easy to come by, the ending is a little too convenient, but then again, it's fiction, and if we are to be denied easy answers in real life, shouldn't we be able to find them somewhere?'
'Reasonable Doubts: thie title of this post is deliberately simple. It's the title of the book in question, the third of Gianrico Carofiglio's novels about the Italian defense lawyer Guido Guerrieri. I chose it in part because of passages like this one:
"I broke off, but too late. I was about to say, even supposing your husband is telling the truth - and supposing doesn't mean conceding - proving it, or at least creating a reasonable doubt, will be extremely difficult. I broke off because I didn't want to reawaken her more than reasonable doubts. "
That's Guerrieri talking to the wife of a client jailed and accused of smuggling forty kilograms of cocaine from Montenegro into Italy. Look how much Carofiglio tells us about Guerrieri in three simple sentences. He's lawyerly, he's good-hearted, he's humorous, and he sends the narrative off in two directions: toward Guerrieri's case, and toward his relationship with the client's wife. Reasonable doubts (a literal translation of the Italian title) does double duty in its legal sense and its everyday sense.
The passage is ironical for a third reasonable doubt, unstated here: Guerrieri's own doubts about the case. Or perhaps those doubts are implied in that second sentence, with its stops, starts, hedges and changes of direction that contain a humorous hint of Dickens. In any case, it helps make Guerrieri an enormously appealing protagonist, more so than he would be if he were just another good-guy lawyer fighting for the downtrodden. (I'll guess that the smoothly delivered multiple meanings are a tribute to the translator, Howard Curtis.). Before I stop typing and resume reading, I'll ask you to think about titles. Reasonable Doubts applies to the novel's action in least three senses. That makes it a hell of an appropriate title. What titles can you think of that work similarly, surprisingly well? - Detectivesbeyondborders
'Italian counsel for the defence Guido Guerrieri is called in to organize an appeal on behalf of a man found guilty of smuggling drugs between countries. Guido remembers him from the distant past as a neo-Fascist thug and struggles with his personal dislike of him, but when he meets the man's beautiful wife and daughter it complicates things further, and brings to the surface his own longing for a family. Guido is torn between his feelings that the man is innocent and has been used by he mafia, and that if he manages to free him, his own dream of a future with the man's wife will be ruined. A crime story full of characters with real feelings and failings, and with an air of menace where you can sense the people watching from the dark shadows.' - Coventry Telegraph and Nuneaton Evening Telegraph
'Italian defense attorney Guido Guerrieri's latest case tests him personally and professionally, as the defendant, Fabio Rayban, was a member of a Fascist gang that once attacked the teenage Guido. Guerrieri would never have taken the case were it not for Rayban's beautiful wife, who appears more than willing to engage in a relationship. Even as Guido struggles with his personal feelings, he determinedly pursues the case, delving into a complicated drug-smuggling operation with dangerous Mafia connections. Sections of thoughtful introspection are interspersed with tense yet realistic courtroom scenes; walks in the park with Rayban's family are juxtaposed against late-night café rendezvous with old police acquaintances and impassioned courtroom arguments. Carofiglio, a former anti-Mafia prosecutor, clearly knows his stuff, yet the legal details do not overwhelm the story, and Curtis provides an excellent translation that is both easy to read and evocative of the original Italian. New and returning readers who enjoy an intelligent,- Booklist
thoughtful, and dedicated lawyer hero or a moderately paced legal thriller are sure to savor the latest entry in the Guerrieri series (following A Walk in the Dark, 2006)'.
'Carofiglio, until recently an anti-Mafia prosecutor in southern Italy, is particularly well-placed to write legal thrillers, and he does so with considerable brio, humour and skill. This is his third work featuring the lawyer Guido Guerrieri, a man who struggles with his own demons as much as with his stressful caseload -stressful because Guido is attracted to seemingly hopeless causes, and because it sometimes feels as though he's the only honest lawyer in Bari. When an old neo-fascist adversary, Fabio Paolicelli, is convicted of drug running and wants to appeal, Guido is torn between the desire to keep him in jail (not least because he has a passion for the man's wife) and fighting for justice for his client whom he comes to believe is innocent' - Daily Mail
'Ideal for anyone who likes courtroom dramas. Set in Italy, defence counsel Guido Guerrieri is dealing with the appeal of Fabio Paolicelli, who has been sentanced to sixteen years for drug smuggling. Paolicelli had initially confessed to the crime and to make matters worse, had been a neo-Fascist thug. Having changed his testimony, Paolicelli is seeking his freedom. Guerrieri is reluctant to take on the case, but is eventually persuaded by Paolicelli's half-Japanese wife - with whom he eventually has an affair. The story centers on Guerrieri's attempts to prove Paolicelli's innocence in court. It offers lots of insights into the Italian legal system reflecting the author's background as an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Southern Italy. Characterization can be a little wooden at times, but it is difficult to say how much this is down to translation as opposed to the original writing. It is a very laconic style of writing which you either like or dislike.' - Monstersandcritics
'Most of us can recall someone from our childhood who was incredibly mean to us. Even as adults, we may harbor some fantasies about getting revenge on the evil-doer. But most of us aren't in the pickle that Defense Attorney Guido Guerrieri is. His childhood nemesis and source of much humiliation is Fabio Paolicelli, aka "Fabio Rayban," who seems to have forgotten Guido and asks that he defend him in a drug smuggling case. Guerrieri's initial reaction is to reject Rayban's plea - after all, how can he defend someone that he has hurt in his mind over and over again? But then Guido meets Rayban's wife, Natsu Kawabata, and her beauty and appeal overcome his better judgment. So much so that he ends up sleeping with her while he is preparing to defend her husband.
Against all odds, Guerrieri finds himself liking his client, this man who caused him so much pain in his boyhood. In fact, he starts to believe that Fabio may be innocent. It appears that he was set up - the undercarriage of his car was loaded with drugs while he was on holiday. As he and his family pass through the immigration checkpoint, the drugs are discovered. At first Fabio pleads innocence; however, in a misguided effort to spare his wife and daughter from going to jail, he admits guilt.
Reasonable Doubts almost achieved a perfect rating from me, which is a very rare event. The only thing that brought it down a bit in my estimation was the courtroom scenes at the conclusion of the book. There was far too much legal blather going on for my tastes. Where the book before had been spare and to the point, the legal arguments seemed endless.
Other than that, I loved this book. The translator did a superb job of capturing every nuance of the characters, including a dry humor that permeates the narrative. Guido's moral conflict with himself only serves to make him endearing. Ultimately, he is an honest man who doesn't take the easy way out in his pursuit of justice. This case involves having to put a fellow attorney on the stand. Although he struggles with the unwritten law about the legal brotherhood, he ends up fighting to do the right thing. Guerrieri is a great character.
Reasonable Doubts is the third book in the Guerrieri series, and you can bet that I will be chasing down the first two. Carofiglio was an anti-Mafia prosecutor in southern Italy, and that experience shines through, both in the legal aspects of the plot as well as the Italian setting. Add to that an immensely appealing protagonist and a quirky sense of humor, and you've got the makings of a very satisfying reading experience. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED' - www.iloveamysterynewsletter.com
'Move over, Mr. Grisham. Former anti-Mafia prosecutor Gianrico Carofiglio is fast becoming the pretender to John Grisham's crown. This is his third legal thriller and raises the standard of crime fiction. Let's face it, a man who has been responsible for some of the most important Mafia indictments in Puglia, knows a thing or two about corruption and human trafficking. Reasonable Doubts is not just a court room drama, it is a tightly-written, witty and literary story about people--they are always more important to Carofiglio than the crime. An excellent piece of writing--here's hoping Carofiglio will be as prolific as Grisham.' - Ilford Recorder
'Reasonable Doubts by Gianrico Carofiglio is an Italian legal thriller written by an Italian lawyer with a career as an anti-Mafia prosecutor in the city of Bari.The hero, like the author, is a forty-something lawyer, hired to lodge an appeal on behalf of a man facing a long sentence for drug smuggling. There are good grounds for thinking the man has been set-up by organised crime, but the lawyer has to wrestle with his personal memories of the man as a young Fascist thug and the fact that he finds himself falling in love with man's wife.This is a gentle, non-violent, almost romantic thriller with sympathetic characters and a very welcome change from the much bloodier serial-killer tales currently flooding the bookshops.' - Birmingham Post annd www.eurocrime
'This latest book to feature beleaguered defence counsel Guido Guerrieri is hard-boiled and sun-dried in equal parts. Guerrieri stumbles into a case involving old enmities, a femme fatale and a murky conspiracy. But where Philip Marlowe would be knocking back bourbon and listening to the snap of fist on jaw, Guerrieri prefers Sicilian wine and Leonard Cohen. Set in Bari in southern Italy, the same town in which the author was an anti-Mafia prosecutor, Guerrieri is romantically troubled and perpetually drawn into defending those he'd rather not. The local colour is complemented by snappy legal procedural writing which sends the reader tumbling through the clockwork of a tightly wound plot.'- Financial Times