April Books We Love: A Fine Line

A Fine Line

Gianrico Carofiglio

9781908524614  p/b  £8.99

Bitter Lemon Press


With the British public’s appetite for all things Euro-noir seemingly far from sated (see ITV’s opinion-dividing Easter Monday adaptation of Simenon’s Maigret novels), there’s never been a better time to be a crime fiction fan. Gianrico Carofiglio’s stylish Italian thrillers are the perfect centre of a Venn Diagram featuring Michael Dibdin, John Grisham and Raymond Chandler – yes, he really is that good.

In A Fine Line, Carofiglio’s latest thriller, a well-known judge is the subject of corruption allegations, and Guido Guerrieri – the central detective character – goes against his better instincts and takes the case. Helped by Annapaola Doria, a motorbike-riding bisexual private detective who keeps a baseball bat to hand for sticky situations, he discovers the judge’s links to the mafia. Larocca is blind to the immorality of his actions but Annapaola makes sure that justice is done, perhaps not in the most orthodox way. But of course, like all great, flawed detectives, Guerrieri cannot stop himself from falling for his colleague’s charms…

The novel takes the form of a suspenseful legal thriller, but Carofiglio is such a skilled writer that other themes are woven in seamlessly alongside classic detective novel tropes. It is the story of a judge who, to quote The Brothers Karamazov, “…lies to himself and listens to his own lies, so gets to the point where he can no longer distinguish the truth, either in himself or around himself.” A man always looking to justify his evil and corrupt behaviour, perhaps an apposite metaphor for Italy itself.

Although this is the fifth in the Guido Guerrieri series, it isn’t a prerequisite to go back and read the others; it works just as well as a stand-alone thriller. And with so much back catalogue to explore, (there’s enough to keep Rufus Sewell in sunglasses-wearing roles for at least another decade or so) you can kick back with a glass of Chianti, safe in the knowledge you’re in the hands of a master.

More Euro-Noir from Turnaround:

9781609451264Total Chaos

The first in a series of three kinetic, absorbing and minimalist masterpieces from Jean-Claude Izzo. Chourmo and Solea complete this exemplary trilogy.


Rome Noir

Maxim Jakubowski and Chaira Stangalino present the Rome chapter of this long-running series, featuring contributions from prominent Italian writers including Carofiglio himself.


Innocence, or Murder on Steep Street

Newly rediscovered Czech master Heda Margolius Kovály presents a unique vision of 1950s Prague, filtered through a classic hard-boiled story of murder and deception.

A Fine Line is published 7 April by Bitter Lemon Press

See our other April Books we Love: Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Our April Book of the Month is The Argonauts

Find more translated fiction here

Post by Tom

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