Bread for the Bastards of Pizzofalcone

Maurizio de Giovanni, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar. Europa, $18 trade paper (352p) ISBN 978-1-60945-689-4

Early in de Giovanni’s witty, elegantly plotted sixth police procedural set in Naples, Italy (after 2020’s Puppies for the Bastards of Pizzofalcone), Lt. Giuseppe Lojacono is called to the scene of a shooting. He finds Pasquale Granato sprawled face down in the narrow alley behind the bakery his family has owned for generations. Based on the stray bullets lodged in the wall behind the body, Lojacono concludes that the shooter was an amateur. Meanwhile, imperious Diego Buffardi, “the most media-ready magistrate in the whole city, the living breathing symbol of the crusade against the Mafia,” arrives with a small platoon of police officers. He immediately declares the baker’s death to be an organized crime hit and orders Lojacono to leave. Lojacono, convinced that Buffardi’s assumptions are wrong, goes to another magistrate, who arranges for simultaneous investigations. De Giovanni once again showcases his characters’ humanity as he delicately balances humor and pathos, following the subtle changes in the lives of the ragtag collection of misfits who comprise the officers of the Pizzofalcone precinct while never losing sight of the mysteries to solve. This is a treat for fans and newcomers alike. (July)
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