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Reasonable Doubts [Paperback]

Gianrico Carofiglio , Gianrico Carofiglio
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

Oct. 1 2007 Guido Guerrieri

“Carofiglio writes crisp, ironical novels that are as much love stories and philosophical treatises as they are legal thrillers.”—The New Yorker

“Guerrieri could have just gotten off an Alitalia flight from the land of Grisham or the Los Angeles of Michael Connelly’s The Lincoln Lawyer. Sharp writing will keep readers turning the pages.”—Publishers Weekly

Praise for the Guerrieri series:

Involuntary Witness is a stunner.”—The Times

“Every character in Carofiglio’s fiction has a story to tell and they are always worth hearing. As the author himself is an anti-mafia prosecutor, this powerfully affecting series benefits from veracity as well as tight writing.”—Daily Mail

“Raises the standard for crime fiction. Carofiglio's deft touch has given us a story that is both literary and gritty—it speeds along like the best legal thrillers.”—Jeffery Deaver

Lawyer Guerrieri is asked to handle the appeal of Fabio Paolicelli, sentenced to sixteen years for smuggling drugs into Italy. Everything seems stacked against the accused, not least because he initially confessed to the crime. His past as a neo-fascist thug also adds credence to the case against him. Only the intervention of Paolicelli’s beautiful half-Japanese wife finally overcomes Guerrieri’s reluctance. Matters get more complicated when Guerrieri ends up in bed with her.

Gianrico Carofiglio, born in 1961, is a judge and anti-Mafia prosecutor in the southern Italian city of Bari. Bitter Lemon Press introduced him to English-speaking readers with his best-selling debut novel, Involuntary Witness.

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From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In this philosophical, quirky legal thriller set in Bari, Italy, attorney Guido Guerrieri (last seen in A Walk in the Dark) is in the throes of midlife malaise when he gets an unexpected and seemingly impossible case. Fabio Paolicelli asks Guerrieri to represent him in his appeal on a drug smuggling conviction that led to a 16-year prison sentence. Despite his confession, which Paolicelli says he made to spare his lovely half-Japanese wife, Natsu Kawabata, from being convicted along with him, he's convinced he was set up—and that his first lawyer, Corrado Macrì, was part of the conspiracy. Guerrieri is reluctant to take the case, but he does so for a host of mostly bad reasons, not the least of which is Kawabata's beauty. The mystery plot intrigues, but Guerrieri truly commands the reader's attention with his unflinching awareness of his own failings and his thoughtful musings on life and the law. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


“New and returning readers who enjoy an intelligent, thoughtful, and dedicated lawyer hero or a moderately paced legal thriller are sure to savor the latest entry in the Guerrieri series.” Booklist

"The legal thriller aspects are fascinating and cleverly devised, but that takes a back seat to the deep look at the ethics of the middle age attorney Guido. Readers will appreciate his realizations and rationalizations as he ponders between the best and worst defenses. Few sub-genre tales contain a better protagonist as he makes the tale worth reading with his fresh somewhat cynical spin.” MBR Book Watch

“The role of the Bari-based lawyer Guido Guerrieri is to take on impossible cases that have little chance of success. In Reasonable Doubts, by Gianrico Carofiglio, translated by Howard Curtis, his client is appealing against his conviction and lengthy sentence for drug smuggling; he’s also a former neo-fascist thug who had once beaten up Guerrieri. The lawyer accepts the case only because he’s fallen in lust with the prisoner’s wife; his efforts to prove his client’s innocence bring him into dangerous conflict with Mafia interests. Everything a legal thriller should be.” The Times
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Likeable lawyer March 31 2008
A good mystery, the main character being a self-deprecating lawyer :-) who loves books and wants to be a writer. I like the book store for insomniacs that is open all night. With cakes. Perfect.
The plot is fine, the characters likable. A good book.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  16 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Straightforward Enjoyable Italian Legal Thriller Nov. 19 2007
By A. Ross - Published on
This Italian bestseller is the third in Carofiglio's series of crime/legal thrillers featuring lawyer Guido Guerrieri. The simple story is set in the somewhat grim eastern port of Bari (yes, I've been there and don't care to return), where the 40ish private attorney plies his trade while fending off a midlife crisis. One day, not long after being dumped by his girlfriend, he is retained by a convicted drug smuggler to represent him in his appeal case. Coming back from a vacation in Montenegro, the man's car was searched, and 40 kilos of cocaine was found, leading to a sixteen year sentence. However, he claims to have confessed only in order to keep his half-Japanese wife out of jail, and disavows any prior knowledge of the drugs.

The story then unfolds relatively straightforwardly, as Guerrieri examines the details of the original case and does a little digging with the unofficial help of a few old acquaintances. As in many European crime novels, the hero/protagonist is somewhat of a loner, and spends a good portion of the book drifting around the streets of the city (by bike!) ruminating on his empty life, eating, and drinking. Adding to Guerrieri's woes is his self-loathing when he falls all too easily into bed with his client's exotically beautiful wife. A further complication is the lawyer's secret past with his client -- as a teen, the client was a fascist thug who was part of a gang who assaulted Guerrieri, an event the client doesn't appear to recall. These latter two elements don't add a great deal to the story, especially the teenage connection, which leads nowhere and ultimately serves little purpose. Yet despite the relatively unoriginal plotline, there's a certain tone to the story that makes it quite compelling. Definitely not a great book, but good enough to make me want to go back and read Guerrieri's earlier cases (Involuntary Witness, A Walk in the Dark).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Capturing the thoughts that go through our minds that we men choose not to say out loud... Oct. 30 2013
By Dorothy McCulloch - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
...those thoughts that would expose our grudges, our bravado, our lack of confidence, our lust, our disappointments, our prejudices, our hopes, and more.

The storyline is easygoing with nice bits of tension mixed in. A great light read that would make a great film.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian anti hero Jan. 1 2013
By CliveB - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this look into the Italian justice system through the eyes of a fictional hero. It was interesting to understand how it works against the backdrop of the main character's personal life inside italian society. Well constructed and interesting.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Italian courtroom drama Sept. 3 2009
By Blue in Washington - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Gianrico Carofiglio writes knowingly and entertainingly about the Italian justice system, with focus on the functioning of courts and the meaning of the law. In "Reasonable Doubts," he presents the relatively straightforward story of a man seemingly set up and convicted for smuggling drugs while on a vacation in a neighboring country with his wife and child. Carofiglio's protagonist, defense lawyer, Guido Guerrieri, is asked to appeal the conviction, but quickly finds that the potential client is a much-hated bully from his own childhood, thereby setting up a conflict of feelings for the attorney -- the pursuit of justice vs. personal prejudice.

While every aspect of "Reasonable Doubts" is colored by Guerrieri's struggle to stay professional in the management of the case, the novel is also a skillfully presented police or legal procedural that reconstructs the basics of the case and ends with a masterful courtroom presentation by protagonist Guerreri.

One big plus for this reader of "Reasonable Doubts" was the relative absence of the all-encompassing cynicism about the Italian justice system that is often part and parcel of other mysteries set in that country. Author Carofiglio, an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Southern Italy, has not lost all confidence in the Italian rule of law.

Overall, this is a well-written and translated novel that respects readers' intelligence and gives them a bit of a challenge. Highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars A Very Reasonable Premise July 8 2014
By propertius - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This may be one of the best books of the series and that is certainly not scant praise. The operative word in this book is "reasonable." It seems as though all sides have a reasonable position, the police and the prosecutor who presume that the defendant, Paolicelli, did knowingly transport drugs, the defendant's wife who feels he is innocent, and Guerrieri who has reasons not to take the case but overcomes them nevertheless.

Even the fleeting romantic involvement with the exotic Natsu seems inevitable and yes reasonable. The plot develops as is to be expected with enough doubt and tension to keep the reader interested. There is enough character development to make all the players interesting and the outcome is almost anti-climatic. The ghosts of Guerrieri's past are revealed in a manner that flow from the past to the present without seeming melodramatic and I particularly enjoyed the fact that he is the only one suffering from personal angst.

There is just the right about of balance in this book to appeal to the mature discerning reasonable reader.
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