A beleaguered police detective unravels a mysterious prison killing while continuing the hunt for a dangerous hit man.
Reeling from the brutal murder of Adele Talamonti, his best friend Sebastiano’s girlfriend, Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone hides out in a hotel far from his home in the Alpine town of Val d’Aosta. His only companion is his faithful dog, Lupa, a rare Saint-Rhémy-en-Ardennes. Rocco’s guilt is severe since Adele had been staying at his house in his absence. Was he the real target of the killer? Searching for a likely suspect, Rocco runs through a list of criminals he’s put away in the course of his long career (Out of Season, 2018, etc.). In the forefront is notorious madam Stefania Zaccaria, in the hospital after a head-on collision—an apparently convincing alibi, though not an ironclad one. As Rocco methodically investigates this case, another baffling one lands on his desk. During a prison riot, infamous inmate Domenico “Mimmo” Cuntrera is found dead, perhaps by a heart attack from the excitement of the riot. Cuntrera is another of Rocco’s past adversaries who’s been jailed for his involvement in a complex Mafia operation. Work should be a welcome distraction for Rocco. Friends and colleagues try to support him. But grief continually shadows him. Manzini peppers his account of Rocco’s travails with the perspectives of several others throughout, like prisoner Sergio Mozzicarelli, who can’t sleep because he saw the murder of Cuntrera and knows whodunit.
Rocco’s fourth case offers a procedural panorama with an abundance of subplots, characters, and lively dialogue. For readers new to the series, persistence will be needed, and rewarded.