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Black Run

Antonio Manzini

Average Review Rating Average Rating 8/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Fourth Estate

Published : 2015

Copyright : Antonio Manzini 2015

ISBN-10 : PB 0-00-811901-5
ISBN-13 : PB 978-0-00-811901-0

Publisher's Write-Up

Already an international hit, a sly, sizzling mystery set in the Italian Alps, the first in a sensational crime series.

The dark flanks of the Alps tower over everything. Wind whistles through the fir trees. An expanse of ice and snow with no end in sight. A growing stain. A mess of flesh and blood. A corpse buried six inches under the snow.

Enter Rocco Schiavone, Deputy Police Chief and a man who has more beautiful women in his bed than sensible shoes under it. He’s stuck in this backwards Alpine town after getting on the wrong side of the wrong people and longs for the fritto misto, cobbled streets and lucky breaks of his beloved Rome. He hates this place and the provincial locals almost as much as his superiors for their petty rules and for exiling him here. On top of that, he’s got a body to deal with and this mangled corpse is “a pain in the ass, number 10 on the scale, summa cum laude…”

There is blood on the black run and nothing to identify the victim but a tattoo of Luisa Pec, owner of a bar popular with the locals and a pair of blue eyes popular with Rocco. Was it a crime of passion? Or of jealousy? And how are the mafia involved? Rocco Schivone is on the case.

The first in a sensational new crime series.

'At last a detective who’s not haunted by personal demons or soaked in booze, a man who may not be entirely honest - indeed, you could call him corrupt as well as adulterous - but who glories in his job of solving crimes. He’s a coarse, violent and engaging policeman who would not be out of place in a James Ellroy masterpiece. The tale is deftly told with sharp, cynical dialogue. Let’s hear more of Schiavone.'

Daily Mail

'The ranks of impressive Euro Noir novelists is swelled by the gritty Antonio Manzini, whose Black Run may sport epigraphs from Schilller and Mayakovsky, but underlines its genre-credentials with a superstructure of diamond-hard crime writing... this is lacerating stuff.'

Financial Times
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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (310515) Rating (8/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 8/10
Rocco Schiavone is a deputy chief of police in the Italian Alps. He was a successful detective in Rome until only 4 months before when, for reasons unknown at the opening of the story, he was sent away in disgrace. He comes across as arrogant and misogynistic, looking down on his staff and being quite cruel. The internal monologue of Rocco is engaging as he compares people to animal species classifications such as beaver, and he seems to like slapping people, which was a surprise. We may or may not find the answer to his exile during the course of the book, but I am unsure whether the reason given is the true one or just one that suited him to give.

This is a deceptively simple murder investigation which starts with a gruesome finding, a body is driven over by one of the snow cats that reshape and redistribute the snow for a local mountain resort. The resulting mess leads to a clever denouement, but not until we see Rocco in a somewhat poor light, his flaws illustrated in his dealings with his friend Sebastian and a group of Sinhalese illegal immigrants.

The murder investigation is almost a side issue, the purpose of the book being to set up a character who will go on to become more interesting and intriguing as his back catalogue develops. I liked the book, although I struggled with some of the names, hierarchy and terminology, but such a complaint is really neither here nor there as we watch as he inches towards solving the murder. He is somewhat Colombo like, obsessing on small details upon which the whole investigation then turns. I think that this is an original story, a clever premise which is believable and allows the characters to be set forth and be developed, and I do think that the author is onto something, in the best tradition of the scandi thrillers, it is dark and it examines the darker side of the human condition.
Chrissi (31st May 2015)

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