cover image A Fine Line

A Fine Line

Gianrico Carofiglio, trans. from the Italian by Howard Curtis. Bitter Lemon, $14.95 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-1-908524-61-4

Carofiglio’s fifth Guido Guerrieri novel (after 2011’s Temporary Affections) edges gracefully over the line from legal thriller into the realm of Paul Auster, as much a series of philosophical musings on life as a mystery. Guerrieri, a middle-aged lawyer in Bari, Italy, who spends more time eating well than drinking these days, hires attractive PI Annapaola Doria, a former freelance crime reporter, to help him defend a judge, Pierluigi Larocca, who’s charged with corruption. But the case against Larocca is incidental to Geurrieri’s thoughts on getting older, his witty observations of his colleagues (a legal trainee has the “expression of a psychotic pigeon”), and his struggle with his attraction to Annapaola. It’s a combination that works because of Guerrieri’s strong narrative voice and wry sense of humor. Readers looking for hard-boiled (or even soft-boiled) investigating might be disappointed—most of that’s handled off-page by Annapaola—but there are enough great courtroom cross-examination scenes to satisfy readers who want them. (May)