Day After Day by Carlo Lucarelli

Translated by Oonagh Stransky.

Vintage, 2005. (First published in Italy 2000).

Day After Day is, after a bit of a rocky start, a tight and exciting follow-up toAlmost Blue. It again follows an investigation led by Ispettore Grazia Negro of the Bologna police. The main plot concerns a series of assassinations by a professional killer — there is no apparent reason for the choice of victim, and no careless clues to give the police a handle on events. No clue, that is, except for the allusion to a pit-bull terrier in some form at each crime scene.

By clever intercutting between different characters’ perspectives, ranging from the secretive “mother’s boy” Vittorio, a jewellery salesman with a difference, to lovestruck young student Alex who helps moderate an internet chat room to earn some spare cash, the story gradually comes into focus. It’s a taut narrative told with frenzied pace, some shocks, and with little space for rambling digressions — though Vittorio does have time to muse:  “When they rise out of nowhere, [the] images are called fantasies. When they’ve already happened, they’re memories.”

Grazia is an extremely driven woman, with little time for personal life or even personal hygiene. Here, she's more confident, and harder, than she was in her previous appearance in Almost Blue. She acts first and thinks afterwards, which keeps the action cracking along but does lead her into some avoidable situations and, ultimately, catastrophes. I take my hat off to the author for providing a logical (I have no idea whether plausible!) explanation for the killer’s motives and actions, unlike many other thrillers about  serial criminals.

Review first posted at Petrona, August 2010.

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This entry was posted in Books, Crime fiction, Europe, Italy, Police procedural, Series, Thriller, Translated and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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