cover image Loyalty


Lisa Scottoline. Putnam, $28 (432p) ISBN 978-0-525-53980-3

Scottoline (Eternal) delves into the origins of the Sicilian Mafia with the intriguing story of a kidnapping. In early 19th-century Palermo, five-year-old Dante Michangeli is abducted from his wealthy family and left in a madhouse. Meanwhile, Roberto Fiorvanti and his twin brother, Franco, who manages a baron’s lemon grove, scheme to make money by organizing a protection racket that targets people traveling to deliver their produce to market. Fifteen years later, Palermo lawyer Gaetano Catalano, newly released from prison for breaking and entering during his search for information about Dante, finds the now 20-year-old at the madhouse and offers to help him reunite with his family. But Dante is reluctant to leave, as he’s fallen in love with Lucia Pancari, a beautiful woman who lives off the land and was taught by her mother to keep away from men, but has been visiting Dante at the madhouse after seeking refuge there from lemon pickers. The worlds of these seemingly disparate characters collide with a series of revelations about the complex situation behind Dante’s kidnapping. Scottoline brings her characters to life, instilling them with wit and intellect as they navigate the corruption of Sicily’s law enforcement. Historical crime fiction fans will be riveted. Agent: Robert Gottlieb, Trident Media Group. (Mar.)