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The Damned Season (De Luca Trilogy 2) [Paperback]

By Carlo Lucarelli & Michael Reynolds (Translator)
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Item description for The Damned Season (De Luca Trilogy 2) by Carlo Lucarelli & Michael Reynolds...

"A fresh and exciting new voice in Italian crime fiction. Keep the translations coming."-Booklist

It is 1946. De Luca suffers from insomnia and has lost his appetite. He's got problems with women and a case that he can't crack. In this second installment of the heralded De Luca trilogy, the Commissario is posing as a certain Giovanni Morandi to avoid reprisals for the role he played during the fascist dictatorship. Exposed by a member of the partisan police, De Luca is forced to investigate a series of brutal murders, becoming a reluctant player in Italy's postwar power struggle.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   117
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8.5"
Weight:   0.42 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2007
Publisher   Europa Editions
ISBN  1933372273  
ISBN13  9781933372273  

Availability  0 units.

More About Carlo Lucarelli & Michael Reynolds

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! 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.

Carlo Lucarelli was born in 1960.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General > Contemporary
2Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > General
3Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Mystery > General
4Books > Subjects > Mystery & Thrillers > Police Procedurals

Reviews - What do customers think about The Damned Season (De Luca Trilogy 2)?

It's a question of legal responsibility  Sep 3, 2008
THE DAMNED SEASON (Pol. Proc-Comm. De Luca-Italy-1945) - VG
Lucarelli, Carlo - 2nd in Trilogy
Europa Editions, 1991/2007, US Trade paperback - ISBN: 9781933372273

First Sentence: There was a land mine in the middle of the trail.

The Allies have come to Italy and Commissario De Luca is exhausted, hungry and traveling with false papers as his name is on the list of those wanted for working with the Social Republic. He is found by a young officer, Brigadier Leonardi, who wants to be good policeman solving crimes. He saw De Luca at a police-training course and offers to keep De Luca's identity a secret in exchange for showing him how to solve the murder of four people and a dog.

The translation from Italian to English does seem a bit awkward at times, but not so much as to every stop me, and while this is the second book of a trilogy, the mystery does stand alone.

The plot is a puzzle and I was fascinated watching De Luca pick up each small piece and put it in place. Having the book set in such a period of political uncertainly gave the story an element of suspense, but it is really a murder investigation. De Luca said it best "This is not a moral battle between the good guys and the bad buys, Brigadier," he said. "For us, homicide is simply a physical fact, a question of legal responsibility."

There is very little, basically no, character development which would usually annoy me. The book is totally plot driven, and I find the plot so interesting, I didn't mind. What little development there was of De Luca makes him a very human and interesting character.

As with the first book of the Trilogy, at the end the murder is solved but De Luca's future is unknown. I know I'll be reading Part III to find out.
"Sometimes it's less upsetting to see a man killed than a chicken."  May 13, 2008
"Carte Blanche" the first volume in the De Luca Trilogy concluded with the collapse of Benito Mussolino's fascist government, and with the laconic, likeable hero Police Commissario De Luca on the run. In "The Damned Season"--the second volume in the trilogy, De Luca, stained by his association with Mussolini's brutal regime, is in desperate straits. It's 1945, and with the war over, and Italy in chaos, De Luca tries to evade capture and the inevitable reprisal for his role in the fascist government. Unfortunately for De Luca, who sees himself as just a policeman who did his duty, the fate of a fugitive government employee fleeing in the countryside is not a pleasant one. Although Commissario De Luca did not participate in some of the more brutal interrogation techniques used by other policemen, he realizes that roaming groups of Resistance fighters will kill him if his identity is discovered. De Luca is close to starvation and exhaustion when Brigadier Leonardi, a member of the Partisan Police, recognizes and detains him.

Leonardi, however, doesn't turn De Luca over for execution. Instead Leonardi, who's young and ambitious, expects De Luca to help him solve the grisly murders of four people and a dog. Leonardi is a novice when it comes to solving murder, and so he coerces De Luca, "the most brilliant detective in the Italian police force" to assist in the investigation. The victims were penniless peasants, and while the son was a petty thief and poacher, there seems to be no clear motive.

While De Luca provides some answers, he finds himself in the middle of a nest of conspiratorial silence. Carnera, a local thug who has gained stature for surviving torture inflicted by the notorious Black Brigades appears to block De Luca's investigation at every turn. The prevailing attitude seems to be that some people deserve to die, and some questions shouldn't be asked. These are vicious times, and De Luca knows that it's easy to disappear without a trace....

"The Damned Season" is a slim novella that manages to capture the desperate shifting power structure at play as the fascist government collapses and people struggle to carve a favorable place in the new regime. Those who have cooperated with the fascists pay a heavy price for their crimes with justice served vigilante style outside of the bounds of a courtroom. And while national chaos reigns, the opportunistic seize the bloody moment--sometimes with less than the purest of motives.

With typical Lucarelli style, there are few words wasted in the novella, yet De Luca's compelling personality manages to reach through the pages. De Luca, still suffering from perpetual dyspepsia, is an odd character. With his own strict set of ethics, he's not too fussy who he works for. To him it's all about the crime and how to solve it. Once again De Luca is expected to compromise in order to save his own skin, and once again his methodical, unflappable style is delightfully evident.

Lucarelli's protagonist, De Luca will appeal to fans of crime and noir fiction. The novella, with its strong sense of time and place, includes a must-read introduction in which the author explains his inspiration for the De Luca character--a police who survived many regime changes: a man who "with each change of government he found himself having to tail, to spy on, and to arrest those who had previously been his bosses."
"I dreamed one man stood against a thousand  Dec 21, 2007
One man damned as a wrongheaded fool.
One year and another he walked the streets,
And a thousand shrugs and hoots
Met him in the shoulders and mouths he passed."

Carl Sandburg.

At the conclusion of Carlo Lucarelli's "Carte Blanche" in the spring of 1945, the fascist government of Italy had just collapsed and Commissario (Investigator) De Luca, like many officials of all stripes tarred with the brush of employment by the regime, was last seen fleeing for parts unknown. Volume II of Lucarelli's De Luca Trilogy, "The Damned Season", finds Commissario De Luca in hiding, using a false identity, wandering through the towns and villages of northern Italy just trying to get by and avoid arrest by former partisans now in control of large areas of Italy. As luck would have it, De Luca stumbles into a village in which a triple homicide has just been committed. As fate would have it the partisan police officer tasked with investigating the murders recognizes De Luca and makes De Luca an offer he can't refuse, help me solve the murder and I will preserve you new identity or get arrested and executed. De Luca accepts the offer not just because of his strong desire for self-preservation but his almost compulsive desire to actually do what a detective does best - solve crimes.

The plot is not complex and although interesting not the main reason why this book was worth reading. As drawn by Lucarelli, De Luca is a pretty compelling figure. As noted in a Preface to the book the character of De Luca was formed after Lucarelli interviewed a police officer whose career spanned most of the middle years of the 20th-century. (The preface actually does a great job in setting up the essential character of De Luca and should not be overlooked.) He is neither a hero nor an antihero. He seems to want to be nothing more than to be a detective yet at the same time he cannot quite convince even himself that his brief stint in Mussolini's secret police did not stain his career. He may assert that he'd never tortured anyone and left the secret police as soon as he could but he knows that in post-war Italy any connection to the former regime are enough to doom him. Still, he manages to put all this aside and proceeds to help untangle the web of political, cultural and other intrigues that led to a brutal series of murder. This is what he does best and so solving crimes is what he will do even if he risks exposure and death.

Lucarelli's ability to recreate an atmosphere of Italy on the edge of chaos and anarchy in the post-war period brings "Damned Season" to life. I got a real sense of time and place while reading "Damned Season" just as I did in 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 this second volume you begin to get a feel for his personality without having had Lucarelli spell it out for me. On the downside, Lucarelli doesn't invest a lot of time on his secondary characters so there is something of a disconnect between our perception of De Luca based on a pretty good sense of the character and the remaining characters who do come across sometimes as more of stick-figures rather than flesh and blood characters. However, Lucarelli's fast-paced sense of action and the very convincing portrait he draws of post-war life in northern Italy more than makes up for these deficiencies.

"The Damned Season" was a good sequel to "Carte Blanche". The third and final volume (Via delle Oche) is, apparently, due out soon. I've read and enjoyed Volumes One and Two and look forward to the conclusion. L. Fleisig

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