Almost Blue by Carlo Lucarelli

What a relief it is to read a well-plotted, well-written, well-translated (by Oonagh Stravinsky from the Italian) noir that doesn’t feel the need to hit you over the head with pages and pages of verbiage leaving you with nothing but “atmosphere”. Try this on for size: in only 169 mass market paperback pages Lucarelli gives you a gripping yarn about a serial killer in Bologna; a rookie cop having to overcome sexism in the force as well as the serial killer; a blind guy love interest/key to the mystery and an ambitious three-point-of-view narration (from the POV of our heroine cop, the serial killer and the blind man) and references to Chet Baker, Elvis Costello and Nine Inch Nails (it was written in the 90s). Did Lucarelli maybe try to shoe-horn in a little too much in such short a book? Maybe. But it’s not a bad thing to race through a book and be left with the feeling that you just gotta have more.

No. 20 of 100 books I intend to read and review in 2020.

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Patrick Sherriff is an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at his conversation school in Abiko, Japan, with his wife, he writes and illustrates textbooks for non-native speakers of English, releases Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good fiction published in English about Japan. Saku’s Random Book Club is his latest project to spend more time with books.