cover image Blues for Outlaw Hearts and Old Whores

Blues for Outlaw Hearts and Old Whores

Massimo Carlotto, trans. from the Italian by Will Schutt. World Noir, $17 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-60945-569-9

In Carlotto’s gripping sixth noir featuring PI Marco Buratti to be published in English (after 2016’s For All the Gold in the World), Padua, Italy, restaurateur-turned-crook Giorgio Pellegrini wants Buratti, a former blues singer who’s trying to put his criminal past behind him, to look into the murders of Pellegrini’s wife and mistress, who were tortured before being garroted in the cellar of the man’s restaurant. That the day’s earnings were untouched indicates that information about Pellegrini, rather than robbery, was the motive for the killings. Shady cop Angela Marino threatens to frame Buratti and his PI partners for cocaine trafficking if they don’t cooperate and probe the murders. Their digging reveals that the murders were the result of a carefully planned operation, orchestrated by a shadowy woman following in her father’s illegal footsteps. Carlotto makes even minor characters three-dimensional, such as a woman whose face shows that “she’d expected more from life and couldn’t figure out why that hadn’t come to pass,” in this grim tale of violence and corruption. James Ellroy fans will be satisfied. (Feb.)