The Master of Knots by Massimo Carlotto | LibraryThing:
I had never read any of Carlotto before discovering this book in his “Alligator” series. Marco, ex-con, now private investigator without a license, and bar owner sets out with two other ex-cons (well, Rossini is still an active gangster) to eliminate a gang of S&M degenerates.
Mariano Giraldi comes to hire Marco and his friends “Max the Memory” and Rossini, to locate his wife, Helena who has been kidnapped. She specialized in being a model for S&M photographs. The husband who had a relationship with a different submissive dared not go to the police for fear their lifestyle would become public and his business would suffer. The woman has been gone a month leaving little hope of finding her alive. Others then disappear as Marco et al realize they have stumbled on to an S&M blackmail ring and snuff-film maker.
There’s a subplot revolving around the G8 summit meeting in Genoa in 2001. The police engaged in some serious violence against demonstrators and many were later brought to trial. Max, a Free Trade advocate, goes to protest and is seriously injured. Obviously Carlotto is making a strong political statement.
The dizzying amounts of Italian Lira being thrown around dates the book since the Lira was replaced by the Euro in 1999-2002. When they pay 20,000,000 Lira as a bribe to a hooker, my head begins to wobble a bit. That aside, this is a fun, if inconsequential, little entertainment that shows a very dark side of Italy’s corruption. If you want something as dark but more literary, read Donna Leon’s books. They are both entertaining and literate. Carlotto suffers by comparison.
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