Item description for Carte Blanche (De Luca Trilogy 1) by Carlo Lucarelli & Michael Reynolds...
April 1945, Italy. The final days of the Fascist Republic. Commissario De Luca is heading up a murder investigation that draws him into the private lives of the rich and powerful as World War II reaches its frantic climax. The regime's days are numbered and its disgraced leaders know it. Their desperate retreats and futile struggles for pieces of the post-war pie are making a regular cop's job awfully hard to do. With Mussolini's house of cards ready to collapse, De Luca faces a world mired in sadistic sex, dirty money, drugs, and murder. Carte Blanche, the first installment in Carlo Lucarelli's "De Luca Trilogy," is much more than a first-rate crime story. It is also an investigation into the workings of justice in a state that is crumbling under the weight of profound historic change. The "De Luca Trilogy" is set during one of the 20th century's seminal moments and describes a nation's ardent search to rediscover its moral bearings after being torn in two by civil strife and political corruption. Threatened by the machinations of a decaying political class, De Luca (himself reminiscent of the disenchanted Dashiell Hammett PI) is a simple man doing a tough job as best he can. Even after closing his investigation, he will still have to face one final, fateful decision.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.25" Height: 8.25" Weight: 0.4 lbs.
Release Date Jul 1, 2006
Publisher Europa Editions
ISBN 193337215X ISBN13 9781933372150
Availability 0 units.
More About Carlo Lucarelli & Michael Reynolds
Lucarelli is one of the most exciting young writers in Europe, has written eleven novels, all of them noirs. He also hosts a television series, teaches writing in Torino, sings in a post-punk band, and edits an online magazine, Incubatoio 16.
Reviews - What do customers think about Carte Blanche (De Luca Trilogy 1)?
TERRIBLE - AN UTTER WASTE OF TIME Aug 13, 2008
Well - I've read the reviews for this book and I conclude that everyone who's contributed must be closely related to the author - brothers, uncles and grandmother.
There is nothing in this little yarn that warrants anything more than a one star rating.
Firstly - the storyline is weak: someone gets murdered and who did it? We have a few suspects. There are no interesting lines of enquiry or clues - indeed nothing that captivates the brain cells, or gets the reader thinking or working the imagination. Okay - so the maid did it - and we are told this at the end, by the author - who dedicates a paragraph or two. It could have been Mickey Mouse for all I cared. There was no build up and no suspense. No building up of tension. It was utterly lazy.
It was a drab storyline which offered nothing and delivered less.
What was the bloody point? Dunno.
Secondly - the characterisation was thin - De Luca (our policeman/detective) was the "big personality" of the book and all we knew about him was that he suffered from insomnia. That was the total sum of his humanity - the insight into the man. He was enirely one dimensional. Everyone else in the book was not worth a fig.
Lastly - this book was boring. Although it was a short - my Gawd did it feel like a long read. I was yawning and constantly checking how many pages of this turgid stuff I still had to endure.
In conlusion: if this is Italy's finest detective writer - well I am a monkey's uncle.
A captivating read Aug 7, 2008
First Sentence: The bomb exploded suddenly, with a ferocious blast, right as the funeral procession was crossing the street.
It is April 1945, the final days before the Allies move into Italy. Those in power are desperately trying to find a way to survive the coming days.
In the midst of this, Commissario De Luca has been given "carte blanche" in his investigation of the murder and castration of Rehinard Vittorio, a member of the Fascist Republican Party. With a mix of female suspects, drugs, witchcraft and more bodies, De Luca is a policeman trying to solve a crime.
This was a fast, and absolutely captivating, book. Lucarelli's creation of time and place provided a sense of the confusion and conflicting forces at play during this time when the primary concern was trying to survive.
Into that he brings the character of De Luca who, in spite of insomnia, dyspepsia, and political forces, is dedicated to being a policeman, solving the crime and bringing justice. De Luca's emotions are so well conveyed, as is the danger and frustration. The story is well-plotted and the characters alive.
There is good suspense and surprisingly ironic twist at the end. The mystery is solved, the murderer identified but you are left wanted to know what happens next to Comm. De Luca. Happily, Parts II and III of the trilogy await me.
WWII crime scene Nov 11, 2007
Author Carlo Lucarelli's "Carte Blanche" is a reminder that even in times of national emergency--Italy at the end of WWII--ordinary life goes on and people go about the day-to-day business of living, behaving well or badly as they would at any other time. This short novella is tightly and very neatly constructed and literally races along to its conclusion. That conclusion leaves the story and reader somewhat suspended, but definitely interested in the next phase of the saga. This is an excellent beginning for a trio of novels about the chaos in Italian society brought about by WWII and the political vacuum that followed. If you aren't particularly interested in history or the geographic setting, it's still a fine mystery story that will keep the best-read of the genre satisfied. It has definitely encouraged this reader to get the two other books in the series.
Noir Italian Style Oct 22, 2007
It is April, 1945. Mussolini's regime is in its death throes, clinging to power in the north of Italy. Chaos and anarchy is rapidly replacing repression and order as the predominant feature of Italian life. Yet there is still some semblance of law and order so when a prominent and quite unsavory member of Mussolini's Republican Party is murdered, the police are called to the scene to investigate the crime. The crime is deemed sufficiently important for the police to be granted `carte blanche', to take any means necessary to solve the murder. Commisario De Luca is assigned to lead the investigation and his investigation is the heart of Carlo Lucarelli's enjoyable short novel "Carte Blanche".
"Carte Blanche", the first volume in what is known as the De Luca Trilogy, is rich in storytelling and atmosphere. As drawn by Lucarelli, De Luca is an interesting character. He is neither a hero nor an antihero. He seems to want to be nothing more than to be a detective yet as the story opens he has just transferred back to the regular police force after a stint with the secret police. He'd left because he didn't like that sort of work and seems quite willing to point out that no, he'd never tortured anyone. He is savvy enough to know that an investigation like this is one with political undercurrents that could put him in danger but his compulsion to gather facts and put together the pieces of a puzzle outweighs his sense of caution. As a result we see a story where De Luca persists in pursuing an investigation even when all his instincts tell him he is walking through a minefield.
The strength of "Carte Blanche" lies primarily in Lucarelli's ability to create an atmosphere of Italy on the edge of chaos. I got a real sense of time and place while reading "Carte Blanche". Apart from De Luca, Lucarelli does not invest a lot of time in presenting us with a full-blown character analysis of the key parties to the crime and its aftermath. We also don't get a lot of the internal life of De Luca but De Luca's actions tend to speak for themselves and over the course of the book I got a nice feel for his personality without having had Lucarelli spell it out for me.
At the story's end we see the threads of the investigation pulled together while the threads holding together the reigns of government come fully undone. The resolution is not so much a conclusion as it is a signal that De Luca and Italy are in for some very interesting times in the months and years to come. "Carte Blanche" was a very satisfying first volume to the De Luca Trilogy. Volume Two The Damned Season (De Luca Trilogy 2) has been republished recently and the third and final volume (Via delle Oche) is, apparently, due out soon. I've read and enjoyed Volume Two and look forward to the conclusion. Recommended. L. Fleisig
Nothing New May 15, 2007
Here's the premise: decent man in the service of the Fascist police with the allies getting closer and closer each day. Partisans on the roofs and various militias on the streets. The atmosphere takes care of half the job already. Some hints of "Fatherland" and the whole canon of decent men in service of nasty regimes. A very short novel as well, only about a 128 pages. But a decent start and I'd probably read the rest of the trilogy as well.