The complex structure of Carofiglio’s narrative, with multiple structural and social parallels at the local and national level, contrasting criminal and civil worlds, and personal events in the lives of the characters, serves to reinforce the emphasis of the novel on the crucial role of structure in human life. But it is ultimately the ethical and sometimes contemplative Fenoglio who holds the whole novel together. His humanity holds out hope for some respite from the violence and corruption that lie behind all the story’s events. As he himself says of his role, what he does (and who he is) 'gives meaning to chaos.'
In the summer of 1992, two real-life anti-Mafia prosecutors and their companions were assassinated in a pair of car bombings by the Sicilian Mafia, as Carofiglio notes in a brief introduction to this fine police procedural ... Fenoglio investigates the case of Damiano Grimaldi, a son of Nicola Grimaldi, the head of one of the warring factions, who was kidnapped on his way to school. Despite his parents paying a ransom, the boy’s body is discovered three days later down a well ... In a number of long but fascinating interrogation scenes, Fenoglio gets closer to the truth. This standalone is sure to win Carofiglio, a former prosecutor who specialized in organized crime, a wider U.S. audience.
In Carofiglio’s latest, it’s up to Pietro Fenoglio, a middle-aged carabiniere with a penchant for philosophy, to investigate the kidnapping and murder of the young son of Nicola Grimaldi, a powerful crime boss, and determine if it’s part of the violence tearing apart Grimaldi’s organization or just a tragic coincidence ... Carofiglio gives an inside view of Grimaldi’s Società Nostra thanks to police interviews with a Grimaldi turncoat who wants protection from Grimaldi’s wrath. Occasionally these interviews go on too long, but what makes up for that is Carofiglio’s engaging main character. Fenoglio is a sensitive, polished figure who has managed to keep his idealism intact in a career meant to break it; he is as comfortable philosophizing as he is citing the public safety code ... Solving this case, Carofiglio shows us, requires a leap into the darkness.