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The Crocodile [Paperback]

Maurizio De Giovanni , Antony Shugaar

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In stock on September 5, 2014.
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Book Description

July 2 2013 World Noir
Transferred to Naples after a tangle with the Sicilian Mafia, Detective Inspector Giuseppe Lojacono feels that he's marking time, waiting out an awkward scandal. But when the bloodied bodies of teenagers start appearing around the city, victims of a strange and sinister killer whom police and locals take to calling The Crocodile, it soon becomes clear to Lojacono that the killings are more than simple Mafia hits, and that the labyrinthine streets of Naples are more deadly than he'd dared imagine. Can he catch the assassin in time to save the city's innocents? A bestseller in Italy, The Crocodile is a dark, bloody story of murder and revenge that will grip and thrill you.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 278 pages
  • Publisher: Europa Editions; Reprint edition (July 2 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1609451198
  • ISBN-13: 978-1609451196
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 13.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #74,841 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

This novel is a perfect killing machine of flesh, bone, blood and cartilage. The story of the Crocodile will make you tremble to your very soul -- Donato Carrisi, internationally bestselling author of The Whisperer The Naples we are plunged into in de Giovanni's vivid and astringent novel is a phantasmagoric place ... [The novel is] rich and strange -- Barry Forshaw Financial Times A wonderfully suspenseful novel in which de Giovanni restores life to the cliche of the world-weary detective ... [and] explores Lojacono's loneliness and vulnerability while simultaneously revealing his brilliance Kirkus starred review Engaging and emotional, The Crocodile is a memorable take on revenge Sydney Morning Herald De Giovanni manages to conjure up the terrifying darkness at the heart of a serial killer in this chilling procedural Publisher's Weekly This novel is a perfect killing machine of flesh, bone, blood and cartilage. The story of the Crocodile will make you tremble to your very soul -- Donato Carrisi, internationally bestselling author of The Whisperer The Naples we are plunged into in de Giovanni's vivid and astringent novel is a phantasmagoric place ... [The novel is] rich and strange -- Barry Forshaw Financial Times Intriguing ... De Giovanni's tale is fast-paced -- Julian Fleming Sunday Business Post Engaging and emotional, The Crocodile is a memorable take on revenge Sydney Morning Herald --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Maurizio de Giovanni lives and works in Naples. In 2005, he won a writing competition for unpublished authors with a short story set in the 1930s featuring the detective Ricciardi, and then went on to write his bestselling series of Ricciardi novels. The Crocodile marks the beginning of a new crime series set in present-day Naples and featuring Detective Inspector Lojacono. His books have been successfully translated into several languages, and a television adaptation is underway in Italy. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "I watch as death moves from one corpse to another." July 5 2013
By Bonnie Brody - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Inspector Lojacono has been banished to Naples from his hometown of Sicily. A small-time mafioso has testified that the Inspector had been providing information about the police station's movements and actions. Though not true, there is not a court case and so Inspector Lojacono is unable to clear his name. He loses his wife and child who end up hating him and believing he is guilty. Alone and dejected, he is relegated to a small precinct in Naples and told not to get involved in any investigations. He spends his days playing computer poker and trying to find a way to speak to his daughter to whom he has not spoken for ten months.

One evening when Inspector Lojacano is on night duty, he is called out for the murder of a young teenager. He finds that there are tissues left in a corner where he surmises the killer waited. He also finds a shell casing for a 22 caliber gun. The assistant D.A. is impressed with the Inspector's observations but his captain is angry that he even answered this call and takes him off the case immediately. The assistant D.A., however, is impressed with Inspector Lojacano and wants him on the case. He is the only one of his colleagues who does not believe that the killer is a mafioso. Soon afterwards, two other killings follow, both young people with single parents. The characterizations of the victims are excellent and we feel like we know them prior to their deaths.

There is obviously a serial killer on the loose in Naples and he gets named The Crocodile because there are tissues left at each crime scene and forensics finds that the tissues contain tears and epithelial tissue from the killer's eyes. He cries when he kills his victims, crocodile tears. Inspector Lojacano is working closely with assistant D.A. Laura Piras to solve this crime. Inspector Lojacanos's colleagues all think that the murders are mafia based. However, he has hypothesized theories of the murderer and the murders that are different from the other detectives and D.A. Piras likes this.

The Crocodile is staying at a Naples hotel where he writes letter after letter to his loved one, telling her about the killings and his plans. He is patient and has worked ten years to get all of this in place. What his motives are, however, will not be known until the end of the book. He "walks along, hugging the wall, and no one sees him. He is like a breath of wind, like a rat in the shadows. Who should bother to glance at him, no different from so many others like him, phantoms that populate the city of shadows?" He walks like an old man and hugs the walls. He kills his victims with a single shot to the head from a very short distance away. He walks from the crime scene and no one ever notices him.

This book is very well-written, fast-paced and with unusually good characterization. I felt like I got to know every one of the victims and policemen along with D.A. Paras. The translations flows excellently from the Italian. Overall, I found this book excellent and highly recommend it to anyone who likes noir mysteries. Europa is a wonderful publisher and they have succeeded again by publishing this excellent novel.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "If you take care, walk with your head down...[and] act like you're old and tired, then...you become invisible." July 3 2013
By Mary Whipple - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Neapolitan author Maurizio de Giovanni's novels have always been original and intensely realized, with occasional, much-welcomed flashes of humor. His quirky, well-drawn characters elicit the reader's emotions, and his powerfully vivid settings add atmosphere and depth to the dark, noir plots. In this newest novel, de Giovanni has created yet another brilliantly realized protagonist, Inspector Giuseppe Lojacono - lonely, wounded by life, and sympathetic. Lojacono, from Sicily, is fully familiar with the workings of organized crime there, and he has recently become a victim of its machinations. When a low level crook in Sicily identified the innocent Lojacono as an informant for organized crime, Lojacono became an instant pariah in the police department. With no evidence against him, however, there could no trial and therefore, no clearing of his name.

Sicily shipped him off the island to Naples, where, for the past ten months, Lojacono has been playing card games on the computer, prohibited from working on cases. Everything changes when the first of several murders occurs. While the rest of the department is looking for the usual connections to organized crime, Lojacono, alone among the department, begins to look elsewhere for the mysterious killer. The killer himself, meanwhile, is revealing his inner thoughts to the reader through his emotional messages to an invalid whom he loves. He travels through Naples, going anywhere he wants to go, but remains as invisible as a crocodile lurking beneath the surface of the water.

The old man's first murder, the shooting death of a teenage boy, is shocking in its unexpected and cold-blooded violence. Immediately afterward, the killer saunters off, unnoticed. The young boy was the much-loved son of a single mother, and though the boy has sold a handful of bags of drugs to other teenagers, he is not really a bad kid, just a teenager "doing a few favors" for someone else. A new head of investigation, a woman from Cagliari, Sardinia, shares Lojacono's wider view of the crime, and before long, Lojacono is providing information to her. Subsequent murders include a young girl, the daughter of a wealthy woman from upscale Posillipo; and later, a student whose father has been devoted to helping his son achieve success. With three deaths so close to the beginning of the novel, the reader feels drained by the horrors. All are teenagers whom any parent would be proud of, and when the killer lets the reader know that his next victim will be the youngest one yet, the novel becomes as dark as a noir novel can ever get.

The Crocodile broadens its scope as it broadens its characters, describing them and showing them in separate, seemingly unconnected chapters in the beginning, presenting their points of view, and providing unusually full characterizations for a noir novel. The teenage characters act like real teenagers, the adult characters reveal their often troubled backgrounds and histories, and the interminable quarrels within the department show male attitudes toward women and outsiders. The author succeeds in making this as much of a character novel as it is a novel of dark and violent crime. Ultimately, readers who are already familiar with Maurizio de Giovanni's work will be thrilled to see the author branching out and taking new chances, even as they thrill with the information that his fourth book of the year (part of his Commissario Ricciardi series) will be released this fall.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL March 13 2014
By E. Piper - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is the first book that I have read by Maurizio de Giovanni and I just loved it. The action was fast paced and the story was, indeed, dark, but with unforgettable characters. The setting is Naples which is, in itself, a dark city with hidden treasures at the foot of a volcano. Like Naples, the characters, are all living with their own dark pasts, pain and wounded souls and they come together when the murderer, nicknamed "The Crocodile" by the press, descends on the city. The story unfolded evenly with the action moving through the various characters.

I found it amusing that Lojacono's colleagues referred to him as Inspector Montalbano, a character in Andrea Camilleri's series about a police inspector in Sicily since I have read the entire Montalbano series and loved them as well. I highly recommend this book to mystery readers and to those who enjoy reading books that take place in another country, especially Italy. It was a real "page turner" that I read late into the night. I plan to purchase this author's other books for my Kindle and look forward to more good reading!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He weeps as he kills Jan. 17 2014
By Patto - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The press calls him the Crocodile because he leaves tear soaked tissues at every crime scene. He kills only young people. His crocodile years reveal a singularly cold heart.

The Naples police are completely stumped. It falls to the black sheep of the force, Lojocano, to find the killer.

Lojocano is a wonderful hero. Falsely accused by a Mafia crook of leaking police information, Lojocano has been transferred to Naples and condemned to deskwork. No more investigating for him. Not only is he uprooted and barred from doing the job he loves, he's lost his wife and daughter. They blame him for the disgrace that's ruined their lives.

There's nothing like a broken-down, broken-hearted guy in a rumpled suit to appeal to the reader – and to the leading ladies in the plot. And so Lojocano makes an unwitting conquest of the attractive woman who runs the trattoria he frequents. Not to mention the female DA who accidentally discovers his talent for thinking outside the box – and puts him on the case. Lojocano draws on his own experience as a lonely man who's lost everything to see inside the mind of the killer.

De Giovanni is a very fine writer. The plot is clever and original. The suspense is riveting. Every character feels like a living being. There are even a few comic moments.

I've read every book available from this author with immense enjoyment and pre-ordered everything that's coming. I hope the publisher and translator will get busy and get more of his books to us soon.

De Giovanni is a great discovery for fans of international crime fiction.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Real Find. Highly Recommended July 5 2013
By Raymond McInerney - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is one of the few Italian police stories that I've read in the last few years that I did not want to put down. It features a tragic, compelling story and vivid, interesting characters. I have read all of the Montalbano, Brunetti, Zen, Blume and Costa stories as well as a number of other procedurals set in the Bel Paese and DeGiovanni's "Crocodile" is every bit as fascinating and compelling.

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