Review: Reasonable Doubts by Gianrico Carofiglio

Esta entrada es bilingüe, para ver la versión en castellano desplazarse hacia abajo

Bitter Lemon Press, 2007. Translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis. First published in Italian as Ragionevoli dubbi by Sellerio editore Palermo, 2006.ISBN: 978-1-904738-24-4. 250 pages.

Reasonable Doubts is the third instalment in the mystery series featuring Bari’s lawyer Guido Guerrieri.

At the age of forty-two, Guerrieri feels that his life is about to have a meaning when his lover, Margherita, wants to talk to him. He thinks she is expecting a baby. But she has received an offer to work in New York for a major advertising agency. She may be away several months, perhaps a year, if she accepts. Guerrieri has no doubt she has made up her mind, and, maybe, even has said yes.

Life goes on and Guerrieri survives immersed on his work. One day a certain Fabio Paolicelli wants to appoint him his defence counsel. During a visit to prison to study his case, Guerrieri believes having recognized him as a Fascist thug, Fabio “Rayban”, with whom he has an old score to settle. Paolicelli, who does not remember him, is serving a sentence for drug trafficking.

In a random check at the port of Bari, the custom’s police found forty kilos of cocaine hidden under the bodyshell of his car. He claims his innocence and  maintains he knows nothing about the drug. Someone put it there without him noticing when he was returning from a holiday in Montenegro with his wife and daughter. Guerrieri can’t accept Fabio Rayban’s defence, he is probably guilty. and has been given the right sentence. But he changes his mind after meeting Paolicelli’s beautiful wife, Natsu Kawabata. 

Reasonable Doubts is written in the first person by Guerrieri himself, like the rest of the series, allowing the reader to find out what he thinks and what he actually says. Needless to say that, usually, he doesn’t say what he thinks. I find that the book title has a much broader sense. Everyone has reasonable doubts. Natsu has her own doubts about the innocence of her husband. Guerrieri also has doubts. Is Paolicelli the same person he remembers as Rayban? Did everything happened as described? Guerrieri also casts some doubts about his own ability as a practicing lawyer or, even, to handle this case. Finally the reader also wonders where lies the truth at the end of the book. In a nutshell an excellent addition to an excellent series.

My rating: 4/5.

My reviews of the other books in the series are available by clicking on the book title: Involuntary Witness, A Walk in the Dark and Temporary Perfections. The books can be read  as a standalone. In fact, I did not follow their chronological order. However I would suggest, for a better understanding of the main character, that you do so.

Reasonable Doubts has been reviewed by Maxine Clarke at Euro Crime, Fiona Walker at Euro Crime, Sharon Wheeler at Reviewing the evidence, NancyO at the crime segments, and The Complete Review, among others. 

Bitter Lemon Press

Sellerio editore

Gianrico Carofiglio official website


Dudas razonables de Gianrico Carofiglio

Dudas razonables es la tercera entrega de la serie de misterio protagonizada por el abogado de Bari Guido Guerrieri.

A la edad de cuarenta y dos años, Guerrieri siente que su vida está a punto de tener un significado cuando su amante,Margherita, quiere hablar con él. Piensa que ella está esperando un bebé. Pero ella ha recibido una oferta de trabajo en Nueva York de una importante agencia de publicidad. Puede estar fuera varios meses, quizás un año, si acepta. Guerrieri no tiene duda alguna de que ha tomado una decisión, y, tal vez, incluso haya dicho que sí.

La vida continúa y Guerrieri sobrevive inmerso en su trabajo. Un día un tal Fabio Paolicelli quiere nombrarlo su abogado defensor. Durante una visita a la cárcel para estudiar su caso, Guerrieri cree haberlo reconocido como un matón fascista, Fabio “Rayban”, con quien tiene una vieja cuenta pendiente. Paolicelli que no se acuerda de él, está cumpliendo una condena por tráfico de drogas.

En una comprobación aleatoria en el puerto de Bari, la policía de la aduana encontró cuarenta kilos de cocaína ocultos bajo la carrocería de su coche. Afirma que es inocente y mantiene que él no sabe nada de la droga. Alguien la puso allí sin que él se diera cuenta, cuando regresaba de unas vacaciones en Montenegro con su esposa e hija. Guerrieri no puede aceptar la defensa de Fabio Rayban, es probablemente culpable. y ha recibido la sentencia correcta. Pero cambia de opinión después de conocer a la bella esposa de Paolicelli, Natsu Kawabata.

Dudas razonables está escrita en primera persona por el propio Guerrieri, como el resto de la serie, lo que permite al lector descubrir lo que piensa Guerrieri y lo que realmente dice. No hace falta decir que, por lo general, no dice lo que piensa. Me parece que el título del libro tiene un sentido mucho más amplio. Todo el mundo tiene dudas razonables. Natsu tiene sus propias dudas sobre la inocencia de su marido. Guerrieri también tiene dudas. Además, es Paolicelli la misma persona que él recuerda como Rayban? ¿Sucedió todo como se cuenta? Guerrieri también arroja algunas dudas sobre su propia capacidad como abogado en ejercicio o, incluso, para llevar este caso. Por último, el lector también se pregunta dónde está la verdad al final del libro. En pocas palabras, un excelente complemento a una serie excelente.

Mi valoración: 4/5.

Mis comentarios sobre los otros libros de la serie están disponibles haciendo clic en el título del libro: Testigo involuntario, Con los ojos cerrados y Las perfecciones temporales. Se pueden leer como libros independiente. De hecho, yo no seguí su orden cronológico. Sin embargo, me permito sugerir, para una mejor comprensión del personaje principal, que lo hagan.

Ediciones Plata

Ediciones Urano

Mis detectives favorit@s

Getafe Negro IV: La Italia de Gianrico Carofiglio

El silencio de la ola – Gianrico Carofiglio

Carofiglio’s latest book Il silenzio dell’onda (The Silence of the Wave) was released in Spain on 13 March 2012 by La esfera de los libros.

The blurb says: A woman on the run from her past. A child on the run from reality. A man bound by a mysterious sin. These three compelling characters’ stories gain momentum quickly, in clear and absorbing prose that plumbs their deepest feelings. Carofiglio confronts the dark side of the human soul in this captivating story of fall and redemption.

Every Monday and Thursday, Roberto Marías crosses Rome on foot to arrive at his psychiatrist’s office. There, he often sits in silence, stumped by the ritual—but sometimes crucial memories come to the surface. He remembers when he was a child and used to surf with his father. He remembers the treacherous years he spent working as an under-cover agent, years that taught him how cynicism and corruption are not merely external influences, but exist within us, as well. His has lived an intoxicating and crushing life, but now his psychiatrist’s words, the hypnotic strolls through Rome, and a meeting with a woman named Emma—who like Roberto is ravaged by a profound guilt—are beginning to revive him. And when eleven-year-old Giacomo asks Roberto to help him conquer his nightmares, Roberto at last achieves a true rebirth.

In this fast-paced yet aching story about human faults, frailties, and fathers and sons, Gianrico Carofiglio enchants his readers with a new protagonist: the unforgettable Roberto Marías.

Click HERE to read an excerpt in Italian.

Temporary Perfections, by Gianrico Carofiglio

Esta entrada es bilingüe. Desplazarse por la ventana hacia abajo para ver la versión en castellano.

Translated by Anthony Shugaar, 2011. First published in Italian as La perfezione provvisorie by Sellerio editore, Palermo, 2010. First published in the United Kingdom in 2011 by Bitter Lemon Press. 284 pages. ISBN: 978-1-904738-72-5.

Guido Guerrieri is going through his midlife crisis. At forty-five and divorced, he fights his melancholy by hitting and talking to Mister Bag, his old and battered punching bag, and by taking long midnight strolls. A lawyer at Bari, he has just move into a new office. Maria Teresa, after earning her law degree has been moved up from secretary to apprentice lawyer and Pasquale Macina, a gentleman in his sixties, has taken over her secretarial duties. He has also hired Consuelo, a friend’s daughter, who has just passed the bar and wants to become a criminal lawyer. In just a few month his law firm has grown from a staff of two to a crowd of four.

When the story opens he has just received an innocent phone call from an old university friend, a civil lawyer called Sabino Fornelli. Fornelli wants to see him about ‘a sensitive and urgent matter’. Manuela Ferraro, the twenty-two year old daughter of his clients Signore and Signora Ferraro disappeared six month ago. But before the case is closed her parents want to find out if there are any leads that the prosecutors or the Carabinieri might have overlooked. Reluctantly, Guerrieri agrees to make some inquiries, not expecting to find anything new in the case. Guerrieri feels like the hard-boiled detective character in one of those cheap mystery novels.

During one of his midnight strolls. Guerrieri ends up in Chelsea Hotel No. 2, a gay bar owned by a former client, an ex-porno star and former high class prostitute called Nadia with whom he will hold long conversations about their favourite films. Guerrieri is a reflective type whose thoughts often brings him memories of his past.

As the plot unfolds Guerrieri will maintain informal conversations with some of Manuela’s friends. In particular he will feel uncomfortable but sexually attracted to Manuela’s best friend, Caterina.

Temporary Perfections is the fourth novel in the series featuring Bari lawyer Guido Guerrieri. The story is told in the first person by Guerrieri himself. The style, simple and straightforward, is peppered with good doses of wit and humour. I found it hard not to empathize with Guerrieri. The plot is loaded with very credible characters and although the crime plays a secondary role, Carofiglio has found a fully satisfactory solution. Clearly a five stars book, in my opinion.

Bitter Lemon Press

Gianrico Carofiglio official website (in Italian)

Temporary Perfections has been reviewed by Glenn at International Noir Fiction and The Bookbag,

My review of Testigo Involuntario (Involuntary Witness) de Gianrico Carofiglio

Las perfecciones provisionales de Gianrico Carofiglio

Guido Guerrieri está pasando por su crisis de la mediana edad. A los cuarenta y cinco años y divorciado, combate su melancolía golpeando y hablando con el Señor Saco, su viejo y maltratado saco de boxeo, y dando largos paseos a medianoche. El es un abogado de Bari, que acaba de mudarse a una nueva oficina. María Teresa, después de obtener su licenciatura en Derecho ha pasado de secretaria a pasante de abogado y Pasquale Macina, un caballero de unos sesenta años, ha asumido sus funciones de secretaria. También ha contratado a Consuelo, la hija de un amigo, que acaba de pasar el examen de abogado y quiere especializarse en derecho penal. En tan sólo unos meses su firma de abogados ha pasado de tener una plantilla de dos a una multitud de cuatro.

La historia comienza cuando acaba de recibir una inocente llamada telefónica de un antiguo amigo de la facultad, un abogado civil llamado Sabino Fornelli. Fornelli quiere verlo sobre “un asunto delicado y urgente“. Manuela Ferraro, la hija de veintidós años de edad de sus clientes el Señor y la Señora Ferraro desapareció hace seis meses. Antes de que el caso quede cerrado definitivamente sus padres quieren saber si existe alguna pista o indicio que la fiscalía o los Carabinieri podrían haber pasado por alto. A regañadientes, Guerrieri se compromete a hacer algunas averiguaciones, aunque no espera encontrar nada nuevo. Guerrieri se siente como el personaje del detective duro en una novela barata de misterio.

Durante uno de sus paseos nocturnos. Guerrieri entra en el Chelsea Hotel No. 2, un bar gay propiedad de una antigua cliente suya, una ex-estrella de cine porno y antigua prostituta de clase alta, llamada Nadia, con quien mantendrá largas conversaciones sobre sus películas favoritas. Guerrieri es un tipo reflexivo, cuyos pensamientos a menudo le traen recuerdos de su pasado.

A medida que la trama se desarrolla Guerrieri mantendrá conversaciones informales con algunos amigos de Manuela. En particular, se sentirá incómodo, pero sexualmente atraído por Caterina, la mejor amiga de Manuela.

Las perfecciones provisionales es la cuarta novela de la serie protagonizada por el abogado Guido Guerrieri de Bari. La historia está contada en primera persona por el propio Guerrieri. El estilo, sencillo y directo, está salpicado con buenas dosis de ingenio y de humor. Me resulta difícil no simpatizar con Guerrieri. La trama está llena de personajes muy creíbles. Y aunque el crimen juega un papel secundario, Carofiglio ha encontrado una solución plenamente satisfactoria. Claramente, en mi opinión, este libro se merece cinco estrellas.

La esfera de los libros

Reseña en Qué leer

Testigo Involuntario de Gianrico Carofiglio

This post is bilingual; scroll down for the English-language version.

Traducción de Vanlentí Gómez Oliver, 2007. Publicado originalmente como Testimone inconsapevole, 2002. 1ª edición books4pocket octubre 2010. 318 p. ISBN: 978-84-92801-61-9.

En Bari, el abogado Guido Guerrieri lleva una vida monótona y mediocre. Su mujer acaba de abandonarlo, su carrera se encuentra estancada. Un día acepta un caso aparentemente desesperado, la defensa de Abdou Thiam, un vendedor ambulante senegalés, acusados del secuestro y asesinato de un niño de nueve años de edad. Su cuerpo ha sido encontrado en el fondo de un pozo cerca de una playa popular. Un proceso abreviado ahorrará  tiempo y dinero al Estado, pero el resultado implicará una condena cierta. A cambio el acusado puede obtener una sentencia más corta y evitar la cadena perpetua. Alternativamente un proceso ordinario, largo y costoso, tiene pocas probabilidades de éxito y sin duda le condenarán a cadena perpetua.

Testigo involuntario, la primera novela de Gianrico Carofiglio, está narrada en primera persona por Guido Guerrieri, un personaje atractivo y muy humano. Aunque la trama está muy bien elaborada la historia está dirigida por los personajes. El libro nos ofreces aspectos interesantes sobre el sistema judicial italiano, un retrato perfecto del ambiente en el que se desarrolla y tiene un fuerte sentido del lugar. Me ha gustado  y he disfrutado con su lectura. Merece la pena. Muy recomendable.

Gianrico Carofiglio (Bari, 1961), ha sido durante años fiscal antimafia en Bari, la capital de la región de Puglia, en la costa del Mar Adriático en el sur de Italia. En el período 2007-2008 fue asesor del Comité de lucha contra la mafia en el Parlamento italiano en Roma y en 2008 fue elegido senador por el Partido Demócrata. A su primera novela Testigo involuntario (Testimone inconsapevole, 2002) le siguieron Con los ojos cerrados (Ad occhi Chiusi, 2003) y Dudas razonables (Ragionevoli Dubbi, 2007) protagonizadas también por Guido Guerrieri. Una novela independiente, El pasado es un país extranjero (Il passato è una terra straniera), se publicó en 2004. En enero de 2010 Sellerio publicó la cuarta novela de la serie Guido Guerrieri, Las perfecciones provisionales (Le provvisorie perfezioni) recientemente publicada en España por La esfera de los libros.

Para más información ver Mis detectives favoritos y la reseña de Cajón de sastre.


Gianrico Carofiglio official website (en italiano)

Involuntary Witness by Gianrico Carofiglio

In Bari, lawyer Guido Guerrieri carries a monotonous and mediocre life. His wife has just left him, his career is stalled. One day he accepts a seemingly hopeless case, the defence of Abdou Thiam, a Senegalese peddler, accused of kidnapping and murder a nine-year-old boy. His body was found at the bottom of a well near a popular beach. A shortened process will save time and money to the state but the result will be a certain conviction. In return the defendant can get a shorter sentence and avoid life imprisonment. Alternatively a long and costly regular process has few probabilities of success and will certainly sentenced him to life.

Involuntary Witness, Gianrico Carofiglio’s debut novel, is a first person narrative by Guido Guerrieri, an attractive and very human character. Although the plot is very well drawn the story is character driven. The book provides some interesting insights on the Italian legal system, a perfect portrait of the environment and it has a strong sense of place. I liked it very much and I have enjoyed this reading. It was worthwhile. Highly recommended.

Gianrico Carofiglio (Bari 1961), has been for years an anti-Mafia prosecutor in Bari, main town of the southern region of Puglia, on the coast of the Adriatic Sea. In 2007-2008 he was advisor of the anti-Mafia Committee in the Italian Parliament in Rome and in 2008 he has been elected Senator with the Democratic Party. His first novel Testimone inconsapevole (Involuntary Witness), 2002, was followed by Ad occhi chiusi (A Walk in the Dark), 2003 and Ragionevoli Dubbi, 2007 (Reasonable Doubts) also featuring Guido Guerrieri. A standalone novel, Il passato è una terra straniera (The Past is a Foreign Country), was published in 2004. In January 2010 Sellerio launched the fourth novel with the Guido Guerrieri character, Le perfezioni provvisorie (Temporary Perfections).

Involuntary Witness has been reviewed at Euro Crime, Crime Scraps, Petrona, The Fiction Desk,

Gianrico Carofiglio official website (Italian)

Gianrico Carofiglio biography (English version)

Bitter Lemon Press

I’ll count this as book # 1 for my unofficial participation in “Italy in books” – reading challenge 2011

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