Book Review: The Crocodile by Maurizio de Giovanni

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This is Naples as you’ve never seen it before. A chaotic, shadowy city full of ominous echoes and dark alleyways where each inhabitant seems too absorbed by his or her own problems to give a damn about anybody else. And that is exactly what makes it possible for a cold, methodical killer to commit his atrocious crimes largely undisturbed, to merge with the crowd as if he were invisible. The newspapers call him “The Crocodile” because, like a crocodile, when he devours his own children, he cries. And like a crocodile he is a perfect killing machine: he waits and watches until his prey is within range, and then he strikes. 
I wasn’t familiar with Mauricio de Giovanni before, but after reading this book, I am definitely putting this author’s books on my shelves. Not because of the one of a kind main character, but because of the stories he tells and the twists to the very end. So, let me tell you something about this book.

When you think of Italy and Sicilia, you think of mafia. Unfortunately, mafia is the first association with every crime and every police act in Italy. Inspector Lojacono is an excellent police detective, until rumor says that he is mafia guy. And his entire world changes. To make the damage as small as possible, the police department moves Lojacono in Napoli, and his wife and daughter in another city. They both don’t want to talk to him, they blame him for ruining their lives also.

But in Napoli, it is not safe and sound. A young teenager is shot just in front of his home. A boy who delivers things (read drugs) to students. Soon after his death, a teenager girl is shot, walking home from her music classes. No one sees the connection, except Lojacono, who is clearly ordered to stay away from the case. But when the third teenager’s body appears, the authorities in the police station have no choice except to let Lojacono lead the case. Because he sees things that others don’t, he notices things that others can’t. The lead takes him far away from the three teenagers, long time before they were born. When it all began.

The Crocodile is one great detective story, with lots of police procedurals and many turn-overs.
You can also feel the rhythm of the city, with all of its trattorie (small restaurants) and good Italian food. But you can also feel the fear of the mafia and crime ratio among the ordinary people. And you can not go wrong with a main character that many people mistake for a Chinese. He is one of kind.

My opinion: 4 / 5.

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