Killing Ground Paperback – Jan 2 1997
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|Paperback, Jan 2 1997||
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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.
"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"
"A plot that drives remorselessly onward. One of Britain's most skilful practitioners of thriller writing in its most authentic and well-paced variety"
"Skilful and exciting...An engrossing read"
-Sunday Times --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
But the more you read the story, the more it feels like as though, somehow, you are allowed to move from the crowds of onlookers and tourists and peer over the shoulder of Charlie to see how they, the mafia, live and spend each day. You begin to see the sad and depressing Angela who stays in bed a lot and takes pills and tablets to get her through the day. Then, there are the children who don't really know yet what their father, their uncle and their 'family' as whole do for a living. Then there's Mario, Salvatore, Peppino and a few others that form the inner sanctum of 'The Family'. They are the killers. They butcher and they are brutal, especially Mario, the godfather. For example, his preferred way to kill people was to simply strangle his victims with his bare hands because it is less messy and it leaves less evidence for the Direzione Investigativa Anti~Mafia to find.
While, on the other side of the fence, there are the Carabiniere (the Italian drug enforcement agency) that have the troubled and below par Pasquale, Axel Moen the pony tailed American, Giancarlo from surveillance, Benetto or Benny to his friends and also the good judge, Dr. Tardelli just to fly a few names around. If that's not enough, then there is Det. Serg. Harry Crompton from the NCIS gets involved and there is a journalist who somehow has no idea who the mafia are or where to find them. To cap it all off, with all that going on, there's the usual banter between the intelligence agencies too. So, it's with little wonder that the book is just a smidge under 500 pages.
Mr. Seymour, however, doesn't get bogged down in so much detail that he loses the plot line, no sir. As an accomplished writer, he gets about halfway through the book and moves on from story detail to story line and then slowly builds up the tension. By the end of the story, you wonder what will happen to Charlie because 'they' know and people start to go missing. She goes literally from the home of the 'vipers' so to speak, into the 'viper pit'. I can't say and won't say anymore than that, but I must admit that you'll have makeup your own mind about the ending. It wasn't what I was expecting and I can't say that I agree with it very much. But, that said and done, it was a real pleasure reading this story from Mr. Seymour! I bought this copy in Australia at a whopping $23.00! Oh well, the price was quite a lot, but it was well worth it. I loved this story!