Almost Blue, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (3 ratings)

Description

A serial killer is terrorising the people of Bologna and rookie Detective Inspector Grazia Negro is determined to solve the case.

She only has one witness who can identify the killer - and he is blind.

Simone spends his nights listening to Chet Baker and scanning the radio waves of the city, eavesdropping on other people's lives.

He imagines what people are like - based on the 'colour' of their voice - and his acute hearing sets alarm bells ringing when he tunes in to the killer.

Together Simone and Negro are the only people able to stop the killer, before he closes in on Simone.

From the diverse perspectives of the detective, the blind Simone and the killer, Lucarelli, master of Italian noir, weaves a gripping thriller.

Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Publishing
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Crime & mystery
  • ISBN: 9780099459439

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Reviews

Showing 1 - 3 of 3 reviews.

Review by
5

The colours from the perspective of a blind man is amazing

Review by
2.5

"This voice is different, less liquid, hazier, smoky, like thick fog."From the blurb: A serial killer is terrorising the people of Bologna and rookie Detective Inspector Grazia Negro is determined to solve the case. She only has one witness who can identify the killer - and he is blind. Simone spends his days listening to Chet Baker and scanning the radio waves of the city, eavesdropping on other people's lives. He imagines what people are like - based on the 'colour' of their voices - and his acute hearing sets alarm bells ringing when he tunes in to the killer. Together Simone and Negro are the only people able to stop him.I seem to be having a bout of the DNFs at the moment. Maybe I am just getting more ruthless with my reading. If I'm not loving it, out it goes.This one's a funny one, and I can see why it was CWA Gold Dagger shortlisted. Grazia is a great lead investigator (although why why why the author chose to make her pre-menstrual is beyond me, did he want to ramp up the blood quotient even further?) - prickly, independent, tired of being treated as cute and useless because she's a woman in a man's world...I liked the idea of a blind witness too, and an unhelpful one at that - Simone (and this frustrated me too - why not switch to Simon? Simone is a woman's name in English - I know that Simone is the Italian men's name but in translation it's confusing) is difficult with his mother, and with Grazia when she visits, and generally seems to be a bit away with the fairies.What made me put this book down was the incredibly short chapters, switching back and forth from Grazia to the killer to Simone. I thought the killer's voice could have been left out for a much smoother novel. Anyway it was too jumpy and I got fed up.

Review by
3

I nearly didn’t read this book because it concerns itself with a serial killer: a subject I think I have just about reached my lifetime limit on. However I had read several good reviews though I think the bigger factor for me just now was that it is blessedly, mercifully, wonderfully short. I am a bit fed up with massive, bloated tomes.<br/><br/>It is a story in three voices. In Bologna in Italy we meet Simone a young, blind man who rarely leaves the attic of his family’s apartment where he spends most of his time listening to a peculiar combination of jazz music, police scanners and other people’s mobile phone conversations. Ispettore Grazia Negro works for a special police unit which deals with serial crimes. She and the Unit’s head have linked several murders of young students together and have finally convinced judicial prosecutors that there is a single case to be investigated. The third voice is that of the killer who needs to quiet the noises in his head.<br/><br/>Although overall I liked the book I thought that only one of these voices, that of Simone, worked consistently well as both a mechanism for developing a strong character and for advancing the story. Lucarelli has really done an outstanding job of depicting what it is like to be this blind individual…not the stereotyped generic blind person common to much fiction but this particular man. He can’t understand descriptive words that others use and so has invented his own descriptive language which assigns colours to voices and so on and his description of falling in love with the voice singing a particular song he heard on his school bus radio is quite exquisite. The voice of Grazia is less engaging for me, partly because she spends half of the short book being impacted by her period pain (this is how you know it’s a book written by a bloke) and partly because I thought she flip-flopped too much between accepting the rampant misogyny around her and being angry about it. The voice of the killer was the least original of the three and could have been left out of the book entirely in my humble opinion.<br/><br/>As a story I found the book more consistent as we were led down a path of first linking the murders together then inserting our three characters into the narrative and having them .meet up with each other in intriguing ways. This could have been a cliché-fest but Lucarelli avoided all the pitfalls to produce a really gripping, if somewhat violent story. However at no point was anything gratuitous and in a book so short it would have been almost impossible to linger too long on any blood-soaked scene so I think even those who shy away from darker books could cope with this.<br/><br/>Even with its flaws this book did draw me in quickly and deeply to its setting and the overlapping, claustrophobic worlds of its three protagonists. The sparse writing style and bare kind of translation, which kept as many native Italian words as could be gotten away with, combined to make it a quick yet immersive reading experience. I gobbled up the whole thing in one day and then felt compelled to hunt down some of the music mentioned within the story to make myself an Almost Blue playlist which is not something I do very often at all. I am looking forward to other books by this author.<br/><br/>my rating 3.5 stars

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