Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Carrisi, Donato: The Whisperer

A very interesting Italian thriller starts with the discovery of six severed arms which have been buried in a forest clearing. All belong to young girls but there is no sign of any bodies. The team investigating this is headed by a criminologist and it is joined by a young female officer who is an expert at finding missing girls. She is the focus of the book with the developments told mainly from her viewpoint. She is psychologically damaged being unable to relate to others and being prone to self- mutilation though the reason for this is not clear until the final chapters. The team discover not one but a number of killers who are somehow linked. What makes the book appealing is the gradual discovery of the different strands and the way they come together. Two additional strands are the reason why the killer seems to know what the investigators are doing, the most starling example of this being the discovery of one of the dead girls in the incident room they use and the gradual unveiling of the secret life of the criminologist. The members of the team are deftly characterised and made individual, something not always seen in policiers which this novel is in a way. It is, however, much more than this. It is a well-written psychological study both of the criminals involved but also of those seeking them. A fair amount of technical detail is included but this helps maintain the reader's interest rather than being tedious. Quite a change from the better known Italian policiers by writers like Andrea Camilleri and, overall, more satisfying.

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