cover image Temporary Perfections

Temporary Perfections

Gianrico Carofiglio, trans. from the Italian by Antony Shugaar. Rizzoli Ex Libris, $24.95 (368p) ISBN 978-0-8478-3630-7

Guido Guerrieri looks into a cold case in Carofiglio's absorbing fourth legal thriller featuring the self-deprecating defense attorney (after Reasonable Doubts). Six months after beautiful 22-year-old Manuela Ferraro disappeared on her way home to Bari from Rome, where she was a college student, Manuela's parents are desperate. The carabinieri who handled the investigation are about to give up. As a favor to a fellow lawyer, Guerrieri agrees to help, though it means doing more detective work than usual. Fortyish, divorced, and recently dumped by a lover, Guerrieri suffers from Proustian memory fugues centered on painful episodes in his youth that become increasingly frequent as he approaches a solution to the mystery%E2%80%94a solution that nauseates him because it forces him to obey his own tough code of integrity. A satisfyingly complex protagonist and well-drawn secondary characters more than compensate for a relatively thin plot. (Sept.)