Read River of Shadows by Valerio Varesi Joseph Farrell Online

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In a bleak valley in Northern Italy, the River Po is swollen to its limits. The thick fog that usually clings to the town, blurring its surroundings and plunging its inhabitants into near-blindness, has been driven out by the raging storm. So when an empty barge drifts downriver, the fact the owner is missing does not go unnoticed. That same night Commissario Soneri is calIn a bleak valley in Northern Italy, the River Po is swollen to its limits. The thick fog that usually clings to the town, blurring its surroundings and plunging its inhabitants into near-blindness, has been driven out by the raging storm. So when an empty barge drifts downriver, the fact the owner is missing does not go unnoticed. That same night Commissario Soneri is called in to investigate the murder of the boatman's brother. The brothers served together in the fascist militia fifty years earlier - could this be a revenge killing after so long? Soneri's investigation meets with a wall of silence from those who make their living along the banks of river. As the fog descends and the valley is hidden once more, Soneri must navigate fifty-year-old loyalties and deep-rooted rivalries before he can find out the truth....

Title : River of Shadows
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781906694272
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 259 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

River of Shadows Reviews

  • Karen
    2019-03-29 02:20

    My pencilled list of things to expect from Italian Crime Fiction isn't particularly long or even all that surprising. A certain, shall we say obsession, with food; an eccentric, slightly grumpy, protagonist who spends a lot of time in his own head and seems to be quite happy there; and the occasional unexpected interpersonal relationship. That's a tick in boxes for RIVER OF SHADOWS then. Set on the banks of the River Po in Parma during a long cold, wet winter where the best everyone can hope for is that the river freezes to limit the reaches of the flooding, a barge captain goes missing on a night when everyone is distracted by the rising water levels.That night the bargeman's brother falls from a window in a local hospital, a death that looks like suicide, but is quickly shown to be murder. Set in the current day, the roots of the fate of both brothers weaves its way into the society of boatmen and river dwellers and back to their time as fascist militia members in WWII.Whilst there's a slightly subdued feeling to the story telling in this book, there's something beautifully atmospheric, introspective, and complex building. Commissario Soneri contributes a lot to all of those aspects, a wonderfully individualistic character with a particular personal style, he's a thinker and an observer, rather than an action man. Unless you're talking about his rather unusual relationship with a girlfriend who is commitment phobic and fond of eclectic sexual encounters. A girlfriend who could be some men's idea of the perfect woman - all sex and no complications - it's Soneri that seems to long for more. I really liked this Commissario, and not just because he's my favourite sort of detective - a bit grumpy, a bit eccentric, a loner by circumstance rather than preference. I liked that he questioned everything and everybody, including himself. I liked his cynicism, his sense of irony.There was something very believable about the way that the past directly impacted on everyone. There's something very evocative about the way that the communist / fascist differences in particular continued to affect present day lives and perceptions. That idea of the past and the future winding in and out is repeated in the way that the life of the people ebbed and flowed along with the river that dominated how and where they lived.RIVER OF SHADOWS really is exactly my sort of book - characters, a society and a landscape each with their own positive and negative aspects. Considered, introspective and thoughtful analysis of all of those elements, and a direct line between the past and the present.Now if you're sitting comfortably, a bit of housekeeping. RIVER OF SHADOWS is the fourth book in the overall Soneri series, and the first one available in translation. A second has been translated - THE DARK VALLEY - which I understand is the 6th book in the series. As teeth grindingly annoying as that is, if you love slower, atmospheric translated crime fiction, then this is seriously good option.http://www.austcrimefiction.org/revie...

  • Sian Wadey
    2019-04-04 01:01

    I had great problems connecting with this book. It took me forever to read and normally I whip through murder mysteries with no problem but it wasn't the case for this one.The pace was ridiculously slow, maybe it's the relaxed Italian culture, but it dragged along. The book couldn't hold my attention either, I would find my mind drifting off and thinking about other things only to find I hadn't taken in any of the story.The main character, I think his name was Soneri, was generally likeable. He seemed like a nice man, although his relationship with his girlfriend got on my nerves. They seemed to spend most of their time together trying to find risqué places to sleep together, including someone's flat and the barge belonging to the missing Tonna. I know it's not real but it comes across as really unprofessional and I like my policemen to do things properly. One thing that also got on my wick (sorry for ranting, I'm in one of those moods!) was how much they went on and on about food. I know Italians are passionate about what they eat but every time someone sat down at a dinner table I would get a detailed recipe. Overall, this was a bit of a disappointment. At the end it was just a relief to finish and I'm not sure I completely understood who was the murderer or why. I think I'll stick to my Scandinavian reads. I always seem to enjoy them more.

  • Mikee
    2019-04-06 04:29

    A wonderful, powerful book about life and death along the Po, and memories that never fade. I await more books from this author.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-25 08:12

    This first novel featuring Commissario Soneri & his colleagues & nymphomaniac lover,Angela is quite exceptional in such a crowded field as Italian detective fiction. The quality of the plotting & the style of Varesi's writing is only matched, in my opinion, by Michael Dibdin in his Aurelio Zen novels (alas, no more to come!). Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti,alas - bland, sexless paterfamilias - pales in comparison.Varesi sets his characters firmly, if foggily, in the central Italian back-water that is the Po flood-plain; not in a tourist-trap like Tuscany, or a jewel in Italy's crown like Venice, but in a real place with real people! There is barely a sympathetic character to sugar the plot's bitter pill!The novel reeks with the damp & watery mists of Italy's longest river, along whose banks & tributaries vivid incidents have taken place for centuries.Italy is a very old country behind its designer shades, fur-coats & leather boots,& Soneri's investigation of growing complexity mirrors the almost intangible pull of past events on present actions. This region of Italy isn't as much by-passed by visitors as completely ignored! I was reminded,in parts,of Bertolucci's '1900' with its vivid dramatisation of war-time Emilia-Romagna, & Italy's painful post-war legacy of violence & betrayal amongst neighbours. The recent past is never faraway in Italy...even after the economic miracle of the 1950s * 60s, which pulled the Italian peasant class kicking & screaming in their new-found prosperity into the modern world. Fiat 500s for all!In this engrossing & ultimately moving investigation, Soneri reveals himself to the reader as he reveals the truth of the baffling circumstances of a double-murder with its blood-ties to some horrific incidents in the internecine struggles of violently-opposed factions during Italy's own 'Year Zero'. This is fine writing, never formulaic, never trite or reaching for comic caricature; Varesi has created a 'hero' who is less than heroic but more than a cipher. Soneri has a melancholic side, nostalgic & sensitive to the eddies & currents of the great river which flows through the novel like a malevolent pike, its teeth sharp, its appetite keen.The Po has never been such a devilish force as in 'River of Shadows'.I will read the next episodes of Commissario Soneri with relish; full of flavour but nourishing too. Buon appetito a te!

  • John
    2019-04-17 08:11

    It's winter on the banks of the Po and the river is flooding. Two elderly brothers, the Tonnas, are murdered in quick succession by a massive blow to the head; the body of one of them, a bargee, is moored to the riverbed near a monument to the partisans who were slaughtered there by the fascists during the war, and so isn't found until the flood waters have largely retreated. Then thick mists descend, further impeding the investigation of Commissario Soneri. But, more even than by the mists, he's hampered by the reluctance of a riverside community of old men, bitterly divided by a lifetime of conflicting ideologies and distrustful of outsiders, to reveal the truth about what they know.For some reason I made pretty heavy weather of this book. The writing is filled with beautiful imagery, and that kept me going, but at the same time the text had an overall stodginess that meant I couldn't sustain interest for long periods. There isn't much of a mystery here, and Soneri's method of detection seems to be less a matter of ratiocination than of having pointless conversations here and there with the various relevant characters, conversations that he tends to break off in the middle, just when you're beginning to think they might be getting somewhere. I did feel something of the power of the flooded river, and the way that the Po governs the lives of those in its vicinity -- cliched though the remark may seem, the river's perhaps the book's most interesting character -- but, other than that, this was a tale that, I think, could have been very satisfactorily wrapped up in a short story.

  • Desiree
    2019-04-25 02:09

    This Italian detective novel is set in the Po valley. The protagonist is a bit of a loner (commissario Soneri) who is a lot on location and doesn't care much about keeping in contact with his station.As in most detectives that are set in Italy there is quite a bit of rivalry between the police and carabinieri.The story is set against the backdrop of the ever rising Po which gives the story an extra exciting dimension.One of the recurring themes in the book are the meals the commissario is eating, which make your mouth water and make you want to hop on the first plane to Italy.I especially liked the descriptions of the characters and the 50 years of simmering resentment between fascists and partisans gave an iinteresting dimension to the book.

  • Molly
    2019-04-06 01:08

    The book is set in the plains of the River Po in the area of Parma during a bitter (or a normal?) winter and it is the first investigation of Commissario Soneri. The two Tonna brothers disappear in close succession: one actually goes missing, the other falls out of a window.In a land where the wounds of the second world war are still fresh for many and the fights between fascists and partisans seem to have transcended the generations involved, it is reasonable to suppose that these grudges are open.Commissario Soneri is not local but comes from not very far away, and he can grasp the subtle political nuances soon. I found his girlfriend’s character a bit two-dimensional as well as irritating: she seemed to just complain about his lack of attention but she is the one who doesn’t want commitment, and I found her closer to the representation of a certain male fantasy than a real woman. She doesn’t however have a great role in the book, which is incredibly atmospheric – possibly because I was reading about fog while the weather wasn’t so good here, but I really felt taken into those places.The novel is set in modern times but the associations with the 1940s are frequent and strong. The book is as much about the modern investigation as it is about the different lives of these people in a disrupted context as was a war and its aftermath.Like many Italian novels, this is not an all-action type of book: there is a lot said about people and history rather than gunfights (well, there are no gunfights at all actually). I read this book in English, and the technical navigational terms have hindered my reading a bit, being a non-native speaker, but my impression is that this aspect wouldn’t have been different had I read the Italian version.I did like the book, but perhaps something atypical or unexpected, either in the plot or in the characters, would have really enriched my reading. I do, however, very much like the setting, both geographical and historical: I liked the links with historical events of that particular time, and I think Varesi’s characterisation of the two factions (fascists and communists/partisans) was spot on and extremely interesting. This is to me a fascinating time of Italian history and a brilliant time to explore in a crime novel.

  • Lau Lo
    2019-04-03 02:14

    Autant le dire tout de suite, ce roman rejoint mon top 10 des romans « coup de cœur » de cette année 2017.Je vais commencer par l’histoire. Tout commence par cette crue. Elle est angoissante, l’ambiance est sombre, froide, pesante. L’auteur nous happe instantanément dans les remous de ce fleuve puissant. On assiste au « voyage » de cette péniche jusqu’à ce qu’elle échoue et qu’on découvre que son « capitaine » a disparu.Quand Soneri entre en scène, le ton change et s’adoucit. Soneri nous parait un homme posé, doux et tout en retenue. C’est un peu l’effet que l’auteur m’a fait d’ailleurs, quand je l’ai rencontré il y a quelques mois au Festival de Toulouse Polars du Sud. Soneri est pourtant un personnage fort, plein d’intuitions, déterminé mais qui reste toujours dans la bienséance, même lorsqu’il interroge ces riverains par toujours causants.Le scenario de ce roman est très prenant et nous parle aussi d’un passé peu glorieux de l’Italie et de ses chemises noires. L’Italie qui s’est tournée vers le fascisme et dans laquelle les communistes ont été traqués. Valerio Varesi nous explique ainsi que le passé perdure et que le temps n’érode pas toujours les sentiments ou la souffrance.L’action se déroule sur le même rythme que la crue et la décrue du fleuve. Energique au départ, puis le calme revient, pimenté parfois par l’intervention de la compagne de Soneri, Angela. Enfin vient la décrue qui révèlera les secrets de ces habitants du bord du Pô, dissipant la brume qui dissimule les faits et méfaits qui ont jalonné leur histoire sur plusieurs générations.« Il faut distinguer l’expérience de la mémoire. On a l’illusion que l’on se souvient parce qu’il semble que tout est toujours identique, comme le fleuve qui n’a de cesse de couler entre une crue et une période d’étiage. Mais en fait on recommence chaque fois de zéro. Les souvenirs valent pour deux ou trois générations, puis ils disparaissent et d’autres les remplacent. Après cinquante ans, on revient à la case départ. »« Aujourd’hui on ne manque de rien et les gens ont oublié les temps durs. En période d’abondance, tout le monde se déteste parce que prévaut l’égoïsme, seul fondement de notre monde à présent. Quand la misère reviendra, nous serons à nouveau unis. »Ce sont un auteur et un roman qu’il faut absolument découvrir. Alors ? vous embarquez pour une croisière sur le Pô ?

  • Demerara
    2019-03-25 05:28

    A good honest mystery set in the Po valley during a flood, this is full of vivid characters and a nice plot.

  • Ian Stanworth
    2019-03-28 03:12

    An excellent slow build thriller.An excellent slow build thriller. I would recommend this to devotees of Inspector Montalbano. An excellent read for Italian devotees.

  • Roger Brunyate
    2019-03-29 04:17

    Strong on Atmosphere and HistoryI was attracted to this by its title, "I was attracted to this by its Italian title, Il fiume delle nebbie or "River of Fogs." Four years ago, I read another Italian book set on the River Po, Gianni Celati's Narratori delle pianure (translated as Voices From The Plains), and found it immensely evocative of the flat mist-shrouded lands in Northeast Italy. I started to read this one in Italian also, but the vocabulary and dialect of the river boatmen was heavy going in a busy time. So I switched to this translation by Joseph Farrell and found it excellent. Here is a paragraph from the middle of the book, which should show both the quality of Farrell's work and the magnificent sense of atmosphere that, for me, will be the major take-away with this author, in either language:He was in his car in front of the Italia, whose shutters had been lowered, and the piercing hoot of an owl reached him from down by the river. Owls called to the dead, he remembered being told. As he drove up the embankment, the bird appeared from among the poplar trees and its call seemed to be aimed at the lamp over the boat club, a faint light shimmering in the mists and looking like an illumination at a vigil or at the recitation of the rosary. He thought, giving his imagination rein, that the owl was chanting for all the lives sacrificed on the river, perhaps even for Tonna, who might be somewhere underwater, or on the sandbanks or in the muddy depths of some inlet.Don't let the phrase "boat club" suggest anything at all classy. It is little more than a shack with tables, a radio, and a bar, a retreat for working rivermen. The opening chapter is marvelous, showing three old men huddled around their drinks while outside in the night the floodwaters are inexorably rising. Then an old barge, belonging to an elderly misanthrope named Anselmo Tonna, slips its moorings in the pelting rain and disappears into the night. When it runs aground the next day, it is completely empty; the police suspect fraud, or perhaps even murder.Meanwhile, on the very same day, another elderly man meets his end, falling from a third-floor window of a hospital. Again, murder is suspected, and when the victim turns out to be Decimo Tonna, brother of the missing barge captain, Commissario Soneri treats the two cases as connected. Soneri is one of those policemen in the mould of Inspector Maigret (interesting, because I was reminded strongly of Simenon in the atmospheric opening), who prefers to sit to eat and drink local specialities (such as half-fermented wine and donkey stew), while asking apparently random questions, rather than pursuing a scientific investigation from his office. Soneri is most unlike Maigret, however, in having a fiery girlfriend, a public defender with a kink for having sex in crime scenes and other situations that carry the thrilling risk of discovery.This case, however, has more to do with the dead and almost-dead than with the lusty and living. The secrets date back to the period in the 1940s when Communist partisans were fighting against the Fascists, with atrocities being committed on both sides. Even today, Italy carries political factionalism to extremes, and the isolated inhabitants of the misty plains of the River Po have long memories....

  • Joyce Lagow
    2019-04-10 05:20

    Most Americans who know anything about World War II are aware of at least the broad outlines of the war in Italy: the American invasion, the rise of the partisans, the fall of Mussolini, his re--establishment by the Germans and his final "disposition" by the partisans after the Germans were pushed out of Italy. But what most--and I include myself--don't really think about is that the partisan fighting really amounted to a civil war; there were plenty of people who still believed in Fascism for one reason or anther and actively helped the Italians Fascists in their fight against the partisans. The inevitable occurred, as it always does in civil wars: reprisals on both sides, mounting viciousness--and a legacy of hatreds that endures until the last member of that generation dies.Commisario Soneri of the Parma police is called to investigate what looks like a suicide of an elderly man. But the evidence suggests murder. More or less on instinct, Soneri winds up in Torricella, a town on the Po River, not far from Parma where, during flooding due to heavy rains, the older brother of the supposed suicide has disappeared, his barge suddenly floating free down the Po. Later, his body is found deliberately submerged in the river. A check into the brothers' past reveals that they were Fascists who collaborated actively with the Blackshirts during World War II to round up local partisans, most of whom were Communists. Soneri is convinced that the reason for the two murders that occurred within hours of one another lies in the fighting of 50 years ago.A very good book although murky at times; it's a little hard to follow the action. One never knows if that's due to the author or to the translation. Still, the characters are quirky enough, the local color of the riverine area of the Emilia region is well done, and the history of the sort of thing that happened all over Italy during that war interesting. This is the first in a series, and I'm looking forward to reading the next.

  • Italo Italophiles
    2019-03-27 09:27

    River of Shadows is the first book in a police-procedural series set in the Po River Valley of Northern Italy, featuring the senior police officer Commissario Soneri. The book is translated from the original Italian. River of Shadows is slow-moving, atmospheric about the Po River area, and with an eye more in the past than in Italy's present-day.Third-person limited narration puts us in the head of Commissario Soneri, which is not necessarily a nice place to be. He is a difficult character: rude, uncommunicative, moody, selfish, fixated, irritable, brusque, and petty.Under the influence of that addictive irritability-inducing curiosity, Soneri pursues his case without a thought for anyone else. Commissario Soneri's primary release is food and wine, so we are treated to all his menus.Commissario Soneri's secondary release is the most discordant feature of the book. A cop-groupie woman has latched onto Soneri, his high rank in the police force a turn-on. She uses him throughout River of Shadows to indulge her other big turn-on, having sex in crime scenes and in the homes of crime victims.Italy's past battles between Communists and Fascists plays a central role in the story of River of Shadows. While the ending of River of Shadows does have Commissario Soneri getting the killer, it is not a satisfying ending. An epilogue would have added greatly to the sense of closure for this reader. The ending, as it is, is too abrupt, without tying up loose ends, and without letting us now how the resolution of the case is treated by the media, and by Soneri's bosses, and the boatmen, all three of whom have become elements in the story.Please read my full and illustrated review at Italophile Book Reviews.http://italophilebookreviews.blogspot...

  • Sophie Songe
    2019-04-04 09:07

    C'est sur une disparition inquiétante et une défenestration concomitante que tout commence. Les deux victimes sont des frères, simple coïncidence ?Le commissaire Soneri en charge de cette enquête ne le pense pas... Et c'est fort de son intuition et de son esprit sagace qu'il va tout mettre en oeuvre pour apporter de la lumière dans ses doutes et ses interrogations.L'histoire nous mène au nord de l'Italie où le Pô est un élément puissant et central avec lequel il faudra composer au cours de ces investigations. Ce roman nous entraîne dans les profondeurs abyssales d'un passé lourd et outrageux. Les frères Tonna portent le poids des erreurs du passé... Pendant toutes ces années, ils n'ont jamais oublié et il se pourrait que la mémoire ait un prix à payer...L'intrigue est sombre et nébuleuse auréolée de silences et de mystères. Il faut fouiller dans la part des ténèbres, les tréfonds des vies de deux hommes taciturnes. On aime l'opiniâtreté et le flair du commissaire, sa relation ombrageuse avec Angela.L'écriture est celle de ces polars, sublime et à la fois rétro et qui doivent tout à la singularité de leur héros. Soneri ne se fie pas aux apparences et grignote avec patience et velléité chacun des indices qui le conduiront à la vérité.A la fois trouble et sidérant, ce roman nous retient dans ses filets, faisant ressurgir les affres d'une époque marquée par le sceau du malheur et des secrets. A découvrir !

  • Greg
    2019-04-15 09:18

    River of Shadows is the first in a series of detective novels set in Italy’s Po Valley. The novel begins with the Po River in flood and a barge floating down the torrent out of control. When the barge is finally brought to rest, its owner has disappeared. That same day, his brother falls from a window in a local hospital.Commissario Soneri pushes to have these two seemingly unrelated cases investigated, against his superiors' wishes. He heads to the Po, giving priority to the bargeman’s baffling disappearance, crossing swords with taciturn locals determined to give him little to go on. The plot of this novel is not that remarkable, developing gradually rather than with any breathtaking twists. Varesi’s real achievement is how he has placed the Po River at the centre of the story, providing an atmospheric and unusual setting for a murder mystery. His description of life on the river and its vicissitudes is compelling.Soneri is not a bad character as the basis for a series. My one demurral is that every good Euro detective needs a source of angst, and Soneri's mostly seems to be that his girlfriend is a nymphomaniac who likes to have sex in semi-public situations. I find that less believable and less compelling than the dark forces haunting characters such as Wallender and Erlendur.

  • Kathleen Jones
    2019-04-19 01:05

    This novel is set on the foggy plain of the Po, and the river is rising after intense rain - the wide, placid summer river becoming a winter monster of churning currents and relentless spread. In the darkness, a barge casts off from its mooring mysteriously on the flood tide and no one knows if the owner, Tonna, is on board. At the same time there's an apparent suicide leap from the window of a local hospital.Commissario Soneri is called in to investigate. He finds himself unraveling a nightmare that involves conflicts between Communist and Fascist that date back to the atrocities of World War 2, but which still divide parts of Italy today. How can the Commissario know who is telling the truth, while avoiding the distractions of local food and wine and his barrister girlfriend, Angela, who likes high-risk sexual encounters in public places? There is a slightly comic undertow to the darkness of the main plot.The book is beautifully written, the characters and the location vivid and real, and the dialogue pitch-perfect. I'm not sure that I completely understand the fine details of the plot yet, but the complex political nature of Italian daily life is one hundred per cent true to what I see around me. Top quality crime fiction.

  • Becky
    2019-04-04 06:04

    The first book that I'v eread by Varesi, and I found it genuinely interesting. The story ties a contemporary modern double murder to atrocities and resentments from the past and draws the two threads together nicely. The depictions of the Po floodplain, an area of Italy that I've never visited, are hauntingly beautiful at times. Also rather marvelous are the descriptions of food that litter the novel. My main issue with the book is that I fould some of the writing, and the converations between characters to be stilted, unconvincing and, at times, just a litthe weird. I think this is more to do with the translation than with the story itself. From time to time it seemed as though I was reading a google translate version of the story maybe. The syntax wasn't quite right. I've limped my way through Italian novels in the original language before now, using my so-so Italian and a handy dictionary and the reading experience was similar, just something not 100% right about the way it read. It may well be that this is in fact the style of Varesi that disagrees with me a little, I'll have to try and track down a copy of his work that uses a different translator in order to find out.

  • Mark Walker
    2019-04-18 03:09

    Disappointing. It has some of the standard elements of crime fiction; the loner detective, events from the past, tight knit community. The location is really interesting. But there are a number of problems with this. The characters, even Soneri, are too thinly drawn and don't come to life. His method of investigation seems remarkably casual. The references back to the superiors who constantly wanted to know what Soneri was up to, and were expecting him to be visible and back at his desk - we're just too thinly drawn as well as ridiculous - he is conducting a murder investigation. It is a short novel, but better writers make better use of that limited space. Given the range of things Varesi was trying to do he could have made it a longer book to properly flesh out the characters - but that would not have suited me because I don't think he is a good enough writer for me to have stuck with over a longer book.

  • Igor Clark
    2019-04-03 01:12

    Like Fred Vargas's Adamsberg, but about half as good. No, wait - 20% as good. Repetitive language & motifs, presumably (on a charitable interpretation) supposed to be evocative of the river and its ebbs and flows, are insufficiently fluid and just don't work. Characters are wooden and painfully obviously serve single purposes. Milestones in the story are revealed again as though tide marks in the retreating flood, which could be an OK, if simplistic, device - but it's executed so ham-fistedly that you're left wondering if he just drew a stake with plot-line notches on it and filled in the rest around it by throwing watercolours. Summary: don't bother.

  • Barbara
    2019-04-05 03:29

    Don't expect fast paced action with this, nor gory forensic detail full of witty repartee between the main characters (though there is humour, it is much more restrained and understated than usual in so many crime books these days). The atmosphere and action is governed by the river, a river that starts by flooding, then slowly reveals its banks as the water recedes and then freezes as the truth is uncovered and the past gives up its ghosts.

  • Aoife
    2019-04-08 02:03

    Excellent translation from the original Italian. This was a joy to read, atmospheric. You feel the cold oppressive mist, the sparseness of the lives of the characters. I also liked that there was little of the battling with superiors that features quite strongly in some other italian detective series. The story was strong with no turn around reveal ending. Instead the story gently builds and you can see where the protagonist is going. There is good characterisation and a wonderfully told story. Very enjoyable. This is the first book in a series and I eagerly await the second.

  • Karschtl
    2019-04-21 01:07

    Entweder ich war nicht in der richtigen Stimmung, oder aber das Buch liegt mir nicht. So richtigen Gefallen konnte ich an der Geschichte nicht finden und es fehlte die Spannung. Es gibt zwar immer wieder kleinere Puzzleteile, die der Commissario entdeckt, aber es fehlt die schlüssige Erklärung für die Leser wieso das Puzzle nun gerade so und nicht ganz anders zusammengesetzt werden muss und wieso einige Teile zu einem ganz anderen Puzzle gehören...Richtig auf die Nerven ging mir zudem noch die Freundin des Commissarios, über die man nur den Eindruck gewinnt dass sie sexgeil ist.

  • Max Rocca
    2019-04-23 08:04

    un grande Valerio Varesi, cui ha scritto un giallo intrigante, che ti porta sulle rive del Po. Ti trascina in un giallo che ti porterà sino alla fine alla ricerca di uno o più assassini, tra storie di fascismo e antichi livori.Bellissime le atmosfere, tra Parma e le rive del fiume Po, belli i luoghi soprattutto durante le nebbie, le descrizioni dei personaggi impareggiabili.Un giallo italiano a tutti gli effetti..bello anche da rileggere.Consigliato per gli amanti del noir!

  • Ashleigh Be
    2019-04-15 01:20

    I'm not sure where to begin. I love crime fiction, but had major issues with the way this book was translated. I believe it was over edited. What makes me say that? Can anyone find a semicolon? I can't find a decent complex sentence in the book. I nearly stopped reading this book but didn't want to start my new year with an unfinished novel. I won't recommend it; I wish I understood Italian because I think the book has a great story line, however was lost in translation.

  • GONZA
    2019-03-29 06:02

    Bello, il commissario Soneri mi piace sempre di piú, peccato non averne altri dei suoi libri qui a disposizione, anzi credo che trovarne uno nella biblioteca di Berlino sia stato un vero colpo di fortuna. Con quel suo fare indolente e quel trovarsi spesso nella nebbia, sia in senso metaforico che reale, credo che l'autore abbia veramente azzeccato il personaggio a cui non ho potuto fare a meno di affezionarmi, peccato per Angela, che non mi piace per niente, ma magari sono solo gelosa.

  • Richard
    2019-04-22 03:02

    A little too long but the complex plot keeps one intrigued to reach the conclusion. Very atmospheric. Great opening chapter.Struggle to relate to Soneri in the way that Donna Leon enables one to empathise with her Commissario Brunetti and Soneri's partner is difficult to accept. However, other characters are sketched out well and are full of life.

  • Matthew Ogborn
    2019-04-16 08:25

    Rarely give five stars but this book sang gloriously to me on so many different levels. My love of Italy helps, but Varesi paints such a captivating enigmatic tale in such a wonderfully atmospheric setting that you would be hard pressed not to agree. The ending is simply one of the most evocative that I have ever read.

  • Chris Galle
    2019-04-05 04:08

    The book did't come up fully to the expectations created by the promotional text. I'd have like to read more about Italy's 'dark past'. Yet the author almost reaches perfection when he evokates the chilly atmosphere of the Po valley in times of flood. A book with the feel of autumn!

  • Mei
    2019-04-17 09:08

    With Italian crime novels, the one thing in common is the obsession with food. And well-deserved too. This was an interesting book with an interesting take on a closed, small community with a history.

  • Tom
    2019-04-13 03:24

    Comm. Soneri