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Master Of Knots, The [Paperback]

Massimo Carlotto , Christopher Woodall

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Book Description

Dec 24 2013
Alligator - former blues singer and ex convict, now a private detective - finds himself pulled into a dark and unsettling case that uncovers an Italy known to very few. When Helena Giraldi is abducted, her husband approaches Alligator and his friends for help. Helena and Mariano lead a secret double life involving Italy's clandestine S&M scene. But Mariano seems more worried about losing his job and reputation than about seeing his wife again. Rossini, the old-style gangster who watches Alligator's back, doesn't want to get involved: he has his own reputation to consider. Only Max is determined to find the woman and bring her to safety. As Alligator and Max begin to investigate, they uncover a secretive and dangerous world in which brutality, duplicity and passion go hand in hand. Behind Helena's abduction is a shadowy figure known as The Master of Knots - who proves to be as powerful as he is psychotic. As more members of the underground scene start to disappear, Alligator and Max find themselves in a desperate race against time to reveal the true identity of The Master of Knots. Their search will lead them into a world where truth is an elusive concept, where no one is who they seem to be - and where the line between pleasure and pain simply doesn't exist.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions (Dec 24 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609451805
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609451806
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 204 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #358,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'What makes this book particularly interesting is the interaction between the three men, whose conversations reflect the author's own experiences and beliefs as a Left-wing activist who spent time in prison in Italy before being pardoned.' -- Susanna Yager SUNDAY TELEGRAPH 'Fans of edgy, fast-paced detective thrillers will find themselves happily tied up in Carlotto's strange and dangerous world.' IRELAND ON SUNDAY 'This is as dark and troubling a thriller as you could ask for, and reveals a side of modern Italy tourists can count themselves lucky they don't see.' -- Myles McWeeney IRISH INDEPENDENT --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Massimo Carlotto was at the centre of one of the most controversial law cases in Italian history. In January 1976, Carlotto, at that time a member of a left-wing movement, accidentally came across a brutally stabbed body in his hometown. The police didn't believe him, and just before the appeal, his lawyer advised him to run. Betrayed finally in Mexico, Carlotto was captured and tortured, then sent back to Italy. Following trials, mistakes, and changes in the law, he was sentenced to prison, before being pardoned in 1993. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Masterful Knot Master May 13 2005
By CEB - Published on
Set in Italy, Master of Knots has as its main character, Marco, aka Alligator, a private investigator and bar owner. Working with him are two close friends: Beniamino Rossini, a past gangster, and Max the Memory. All three men have spent time in prison, Marco for something he didn't do, and a fair amount of the book describes the horrors of life in an Italian prison in detail.

A friend has sent a client, Mariano Giraldi, to Marco for help. Giraldi's wife, Helena, has been kidnapped, and in the room from which she was abducted, a rose, made from intricate knots in a silken rope, has been left. Further investigation uncovers the fact that the Giraldis were into sadomasochism, and soon other women, also involved in S&M, begin to disappear. A sadistic psychopath nicknamed Master of Knots is at work, and Marco and friends must try to discover his identity and stop him before he can kidnap again.

The Master of Knots is dark, with graphic scenes and gutter language. My one complaint about the book is that everything was tied up in great haste at the end.
5.0 out of 5 stars Carlotto's best work to date March 10 2014
By Bob Cocco - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Carlotto's usual bare knuckled and remorseless grappling with evil in contemporary Italian society is on full display once again. What elevates the story and characters this time around is that the 3 ex-con friends, who form an informal private detective agency of sorts, actually have some moral grounding despite their outsider status. This is a welcome departure from the intelligent and fascinating but relentlessly sociopathic protagonists in Death's Dark Abyss, Another Dull Day and the Goodbye Kiss. We even get some keen political insight into the Genoa hosted G8 summit and the brutal way it was handled by police and security forces there as a sidelight to the main action. Another departure, despite the prurient subject matter of snuff S&M, is the real understanding and sympathy for the women victimized here and the social pressures that lead to their lifestyle, the underground nature of which leaves them vulnerable to the evil criminal group led by the titular character.

My only disappointment, pointed out rightly by another reviewer, is that the ending is abrupt and therefore not as satisfying as one would like or expect.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but... Feb. 10 2014
By ECW0647 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I had never read any of Carlotto before discovering this book in his “Alligator” series. Marco, ex-con, now private investigator without a license, and bar owner sets out with two other ex-cons (well, Rossini is still an active gangster) to eliminate a gang of S&M degenerates.

Mariano Giraldi comes to hire Marco and his friends “Max the Memory” and Rossini, to locate his wife, Helena who has been kidnapped. She specialized in being a model for S&M photographs. The husband who had a relationship with a different submissive dared not go to the police for fear their lifestyle would become public and his business would suffer. The woman has been gone a month leaving little hope of finding her alive. Others then disappear as Marco et al realize they have stumbled on to an S&M blackmail ring and snuff-film maker.

There’s a subplot revolving around the G8 summit meeting in Genoa in 2001. The police engaged in some serious violence against demonstrators and many were later brought to trial. Max, a Free Trade advocate, goes to protest and is seriously injured. Obviously Carlotto is making a strong political statement.

The dizzying amounts of Italian Lira being thrown around dates the book since the Lira was replaced by the Euro in 1999-2002. When they pay 20,000,000 Lira as a bribe to a hooker, my head begins to wobble a bit. That aside, this is a fun, if inconsequential, little entertainment that shows a very dark side of Italy’s corruption. If you want something as dark but more literary, read Donna Leon’s books. They are both entertaining and literate. Carlotto suffers by comparison.

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