Giorgio Pellegrini’s 11 years of playing it straight (The Goodbye Kiss, 2006) come to an shrieking halt when he finds out that his lawyer, a rising political star, has bilked him out of €2 million.
Giorgio’s years as a terrorist, fugitive and prisoner may not have served him well as the owner of the fashionable restaurant La Nena, but they provide the perfect credentials for the wholesale revenge he plans against Sante Brianese, who pocketed Giorgio’s enormous stake and then had the nerve to pretend it went south in a bad investment. The trouble is that Brianese is too clever and well-connected to succumb to half-baked schemes. To Giorgio’s initial move—trashing his house and beating his housekeeper to a pulp—he responds by setting three members of the Calabrian Mafia on La Nena while he makes the rounds of the talk shows expressing solicitude for the housekeeper and promising to pay her medical expenses. So, Giorgio steps up his campaign. His new, higher-octane plan is nothing special; what makes him fascinating is his full-bore abuse of everyone else who crosses his path, from Martina, the wife he bullies, to her friend Gemma, whom he forces to give up smoking as a condition of his seducing her, to Isabel, the prostitute he kills since he can’t frame someone for murder without providing a corpse. Even though Giorgio tells his own story, he never comes across as sympathetic. His brutal bad-boy appeal is as shocking as it is undeniable.
Carlotto (Bandit Love, 2010, etc.) provides a machine-gun pace, a jaundiced eye for political corruption and a refreshing absence of anything approaching a moral vision.