Friday, August 15, 2014

Review: THE FEW by Nadia Dalbuono

The FewFrom the back of the book:
Detective Leone Scamarcio, the son of a former leading Mafioso, has turned his back on the family business, and has joined the Rome police force. He may be one of the last honest men in Italy.

But when Scamarcio is handed a file of extremely compromising photographs of a highprofile Italian politician, and told to ‘deal with it’, he knows he’s in for trouble. And when a young man is found stabbed to death in Rome, and a young American girl disappears on a beach in Elba, Scamarcio’s job gets a whole lot more complicated.

Worst of all, every lead seems to implicate the prime minister — a multi-media baron, and the most powerful man in Italy.

As the case spins out of control, and his own past catches up with him, Scamarcio must navigate the darkest currents of Italian society — only to find that nothing is as it seems, and that the price of truth may be higher than he can pay

My Review:
THE FEW is an Italian police procedural that maintains a constant mystery throughout – though it’s not the murder of a rent-boy that captivated me, rather the person pulling the chief of police’s strings; a mysterious handler dictating terms and using sheer political power in their pursuit of their intended version of the truth.

For Detective Scamarcio and his superior Garramone, the murder of a male prostitute (or rent boy as referred to in THE FEW) looms as a career defining case, one that leaves no stone unturned as it unearths the sect known as The Few. With severe ramifications hanging over the heads of many, the case threatens to destroy more than it can possibly save.

Detective Scamarcio is an interesting character; one constantly conflicted by his criminal heritage and law abiding occupation. It’s something that the character tries to distinguish himself from, toting the line of cop over Mafioso. Despite his best intentions the lives bleed into one another to formulate an interesting dynamic and complementary secondary plot.

The case evolves and morphs into a larger all-encompassing criminal investigation that spans sex trafficking, kidnapping, and murder among other heinous crimes. Tying the narrative together is the continued icy-at-times relationship between Scamarcio and his superior in chief of police Garramone. I enjoyed the constant shroud of mystery surrounding Garramone’s motives and the kept-in-the-dark Scamarcio’s battle to perform his duty. Not only is Scamarcio up against a disturbing case, he’s also fighting against internal police bureaucracy.

While it felt like THE FEW took a little while to gain momentum following an entertaining opening, I can see the rationale behind building the caseload and establishing the interlocking crimes to form a broader picture. Author Nadia Dalbuono has written a decent first up police procedural that has me interested in further series instalments.

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