Jun 6, 2011

THE DOGS OF ROME by Connor Fitzgerald

taken from the San Francisco Book Review reviewed by Leslie Wolfson
A sloppy and seemingly random murder is committed in Rome, clearly the work of an amateur. But of course, things are more complicated than they appear. Upon closer inspection, the victim turns out to be an anti-dog- fighting crusader who has exposed an illegal ring run by a local gangster. What’s more, the victim’s wife is a politician, and his mistress is the daughter of a high-ranking Mafioso.

Alleva was dead, Massoni was dead, and Blume could hear exhilaration in Paolini’s tone.  Revenge and reprieve all at once.

Enter Alec Blume, a police commissioner who is an American but has lived in Rome since his teens. Alec’s parents were murdered in a bank robbery gone bad, which gives him a cynical outlook on life. Blume is not your typical cop; he is sarcastic with co-workers and supervisors, he is overly zealous and far from suave when approaching women, and spends part of the book in a sling, awkwardly pursuing the bad guys when he should be home in bed. All of these traits make him a flawed but likable hero.

All of the players in the novel come across as completely believable, because the author avoids the stereotypical, and emphasizes the quirkiness in both large and small characters. The fast-moving plot has several interesting twists, and the tone is tongue-in-cheek. This is the first in a series of Commissario Blume novels, and anyone who reads this one will be looking forward to the next.

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