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Killing Ground [Paperback]

Gerald Seymour
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Jan. 2 1997
Charley Parsons is invited to resume her job as a nanny to the children of a Sicilian family. But this time the job is different - she is the central figure in a plot by the US Drug Enforcement Agency to trap Mario Ruggiero, head of the Sicilian Mafia. Charley is about to enter the killing ground.

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Product Description

From Kirkus Reviews

An utterly unsentimental and elegantly crafted tale of the global drug trade, from the immensely accomplished Seymour (The Heart of Danger, 1995, etc.). Axel Moen, a Rome-based DEA operative, recruits a young Englishwoman named Charlotte (Charley) Parsons to help him bring La Cosa Nostra's aging capo to some sort of justice. Four years earlier, Charley had spent a happy summer working as a nanny at the home of Giuseppe (Peppino) Ruggerio, the younger, university- educated brother of Mario, a cunning, elusive fugitive who heads LCN. When his unhappy wife gives birth to a third baby, Peppino (a virtuoso at laundering large sums of dirty money) invites Charley to resume her post as a mother's helper and companion. Cautioning Charley to lie low until the appearance of Mario (the target of the DEA's campaign), Moen keeps a lonely, nerve-wracking watch over his confidential informant as she goes about her household duties in the high-rent district of Sicily's blood-drenched capital. Then Peppino attracts the attention of Scotland Yard on a flying visit (under an alias) to the UK. Subsequent inquiries disclose that an American agency has plucked a local rose without telling the host country's law-enforcement agencies; with noses out of joint, the buck is passed up the line to ranking functionaries in Washington, who decide that the diplomatic as well as political risks are too great. The order comes down to abort the operation. Before the withdrawal directive can be executed, however, all hell breaks loose on the killing grounds of Palermo. In a show of power, Mario issues a contract on a troublesome magistrate (who dies in a spectacular car bombing) and then boldly comes out of hiding for a family celebration. At the close, the forces of good have won a famous victory, albeit one whose high cost makes it bittersweet. An arresting saga of the world that turns on menace, mistrust, moral ambiguity, and vaulting ambition. -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

"A tense, taut tale of mounting suspense and emotional drama.  A thriller in the true sense of the word.  Mario Puzo, eat your heart out"
-The Times

"A plot that drives remorselessly onward.  One of Britain's most skilful practitioners of thriller writing in its most authentic and well-paced variety"
-Sunday Express

"Skilful and exciting...An engrossing read"
-Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible & Chilling July 12 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Cynical Seymour creates an atmosphere of duplicity & intrigue in which there are few heroes. He makes the baddies human and avoids romanticizing the goodies. Always worth reading.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, educational and plausible novel. Sept. 22 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a wonderful book for a summer vacation. I was reminded of John Le Carre's "The Little Drummer Girl" in terms of its plot. This is a very well researched book and I believe Seymour did a good job in telling us how awful is organized crime and what devastation the drug trade brings to society. At the same time we got a brief look at southwest England and Tavistock, where, incidentally, I was born. We got a better look at Sicily and this travelogue aspect to the book was done better than others, ie: Robert Ludlum; but who cares because after reading this book nobody will want to visit Palermo. The British investigators are protrayed as I suspect they really are: soppy at the lower ranks and machiavellian in the higher offices. I have two complaints. One: as a British writer, Seymour should have had an American assist him in making Alex Moen as a believable American. Americans don't think in terms of "windscreens", "petrol" and " lorries", among other things in the script. Two: Mario Ruggerio's ability to control millions of dollars worth of global investments with merely his mind and no business infrastructure is highly improbable. This was, on the whole, a plausible novel that read well, held the immagination, taught something, sparked the romantic notion and entertained during a summer vacation.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Could have been better! Dec 9 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the second book I read of Seymour. To be honest I find his style a bit too repetitive and monotonous. The plot is good but has some gaping holes in it. It is hard to accept that a Mafia family would accept a foreigner in their midst without checking her out thoroughly. On the other habd the atmosphere of Palermo and the whole "Cosa Nostra" issue is very accurately depicted. It is an enjoyable and informative book, I recommend it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book Oct. 23 2007
By Strathbogie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Stumbled across Mr. Seymour at a book fair. Bought one, and quickly decided he is one of my favorites. Excellent pace to his writing. This book gets you into it quickly, and thoroughly. Characters have 'heft' and depth without a lot of blather getting there. This book moves, I'll keep it, read it again, and probably again after that. For perspective, I also enjoy Robert Crais, Michael Connelly, Nelson Demille, Lee Child, Margared Truman.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Credible & Chilling July 12 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Cynical Seymour creates an atmosphere of duplicity & intrigue in which there are few heroes. He makes the baddies human and avoids romanticizing the goodies. Always worth reading.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A RIVAL TO "THE GODFATHER" March 9 2006
By KEN SCOTT author - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Before I even picked this book up, I convinced myself it wouldn't come near to Puzo's classic. I was wrong!

Within the first few pages I was deeply engrossed in this cleverley written gangster thriller about a young English nanny looking after the children of a Sicilian family. It's hard to believe that Seymour is a Brit, so convinced was I that he was the son of an Italian immigrant raised in the Bronx.

571 pages of a well researched masterpiece. Sexual intrigue, violence and bad language, nice twists and as the cover boasts, "THE BEST MAFIA THRILLER SINCE THE GODFATHER"

This was my first book by Seymour, but definitely not the last.
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