Unlicensed private eye Marco Buratti, the Alligator (Bandit Love, 2010, etc.), tracks a missing wife down a rabbit hole even darker and dirtier than his usual haunts.
It’s hardly a surprise that Varese sales representative Mariano Giraldi’s wife has vanished. Ever since he divined Helena Heintze’s sexual preferences—bi and submissive—and began to hire her out as a bondage model, she’s been tangled with some seriously rough trade. Now, she’s evidently been kidnapped by the Bang Gang, a group of predators that blackmails women into making violent BDSM films that sometimes escalate to the point of no return. Though Buratti’s not noted for his high moral tone, he draws the line at snuff films. So do his buddies, drug trafficker Beniamino Rossini and fat ex-gangster Max the Memory. Together, they pile up casualties as they pursue Helena’s ties to Jay Jacovone, a snuff producer tight with the Miami Mafia; to Marisa Guarnero, a schoolteacher blackmailed into making BDSM videos; and to a slave calling herself Sherazade, who seems poised to become the next victim of the Bang Gang and their leader, the Master of Knots. Their task is rendered both more difficult and easier when their client disappears along with Antonina Gattuso, aka Barbie Slave, the lover Giraldi had inveigled into joining him and Helena in their dark frolics.
As usual with Carlotto (At the End of a Dull Day, 2013, etc.), there’s no suspense, since the characters are never in danger—they go straight from being fine to being dead—and Buratti wraps up the case with a scandalous lack of fuss. But the author shows a sure grasp of the double lives of BDSM devotees for whom unmasking would mean calamity.