The Dark Heart of Florence

The Dark Heart of Florence

Book - 2014
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After enduring years at the mercy of an infamous serial killer, the people of Florence rejoice at news of his death-- until a senator is found brutally murdered. To Chief Superintendent Michele Ferrara the case is very much alive. But, with a powerful adversary conspiring against him, he is trapped in a spiral of corruption and deadly speculation. As the truth comes to light, Ferrara is left standing face-to-face with something truly rotten at the heart of the city.
Publisher: London : Abacus, 2014.
ISBN: 9780349139333
Branch Call Number: Fic Giut
Characteristics: 371 pages ; 20 cm


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Sep 06, 2015

If this author is indeed "The leading Italian crime writer" as the book advertises, Italy would be in more serious trouble than its economy.

At best, this novel reads like a script for a poor episode of Dateline NBC or 48 Hours on CBS with its soap opera questions that over-promise and under-deliver. It does not deliver on anything claimed in the billing, or in the Publisher's Weekly (or rather Mouthpiece) review. It might have been better as a cartoon series as most of the dialogue and the villain do appear cartoonish.

The translation quality is quite poor. The short, staccato sentences often read like captions for the visually impaired in a movie. Even the proof-reading hasn't been good enough to catch all typos. It has not just been translated but anglicized for an international audience to the point where there is nothing unique left of Italy other than names/labels.

But the translation is the least of its problems. The billing relies on the author having been the head of the Florence police force. This appears to have been a liability than an advantage. The novel reads like a sanitized case report prepared for public where everything is done by the book, the police characters dot all their 'i's and cross the 't's, think strictly according to the recommendations of the police manual, have only positive comments on their colleagues and women in its ranks are admired and promoted based on their merits alone and never harassed. This is not the reality in any police force in any country let alone in Italy. Hard to take it seriously or with any credibility.

To be read only by those who would rather not bother their brain cells even the least bit ... or better not read at all.

Jan 15, 2015

Giuttari's multi-faceted storyline, if somewhat representative of Florence, surrounding areas, Tuscany region, and Rome Italy's law enforcement system, provides insight into, the; policies, procedures, protocol, political and legal hierarchy, pecking order, rituals, influence of the 'old guard', secret organization's and lodge affiliations input, and appear to affect the manner in which crimes are approached and solved. More is not always better, and in an attempt to develop a unique and stunning storyline, the closure became more difficult. Thus, the end becomes a frenzied set of circumstances and situations more fit for a Marvel comic book villain and hero encounter. This was my first exposure to Michele Giuttari, and though disappointed with the ending, I do appreciate the overview of the complexity of the law enforcement in that country. Also, I plan to read at least one more of his writings.


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