Gianrico Carofiglio “Temporary Perfections”

September 29th, 2011

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Gianrico Carofiglio knows a little bit about crime and justice — he’s been a prosecutor, an expert in organized crime, and is currently a member of the Italian Senate.

Gianrico  Carofiglio

He is also an internationally-bestselling thriller writer, whose fourth book featuring defense attorney Guido Guerrieri is called “Temporary Perfections.”

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But this book is a bit of a departure for Carofiglio. It’s less courtroom thriller than it is a detective story, as Guido is asked to do what he can to help find a missing young woman. It’s not his specialty, but for his own reasons he agrees, and stumbles into something much darker and more sinister than he had expected.

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Justine van der Leun “Marcus of Umbria”

June 8th, 2011

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A neglected dog changes a young woman’s life, and her definition of what makes a good relationship, in a book that readers compare to “Eat, Pray, Love,” “Marley & Me,” and even “Bridget Jones’ Diary.”

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Onetime New York editor Justine van der Leun‘s story begins with a trip to Italy for romance. A relationship with a man becomes a relationship with his family, and then a relationship — of an unexpectedly rewarding nature — with a dark-headed English pointer. She names the dog Marcus. But the story takes another unexpected turn when van der Leun decides to return to America — with Marcus. Her book is called “Marcus of Umbria,”

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Sarah Dunant “Sacred Hearts”

July 31st, 2009

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When 16-year-old Serafina’s father relegates her to Italy’s Santa Caterina convent in 1570, to break up a forbidden romance, Serafina feels as though her life is over. But in Sarah Dunant‘s novel “Sacred Hearts” the nuns absorb their newest novice into a culture that is richer, more diverse, more political than you may have expected.

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Donna Leon “About Face”

April 24th, 2009

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The beauty of Venice is threatened by trash, waste, and pollution — and by the mafiosi who are cashing in on trash, waste, and pollution, in Donna Leon‘s novel “About Face.” But Venice is not the only disfigured beauty in this book.

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A once stunning woman whose unhealthy appetite for plastic surgery has devastated her looks also figures prominently in the story. Series hero Commissario Guido Brunetti finds himself intrigued by this woman, while also trying to break up an illegal refuse-hauling operation.

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Nathaniel Rich “The Mayor’s Tongue”

May 1st, 2008

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A young man and an old man, each from New York and each on a quest, both end up in Italy in the debut novel by Nathaniel Rich, “The Mayor’s Tongue.”

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Not just anywhere in Italy, mind you, but a particular, borderlands region of northern Italy, where the normal definitions of reality don’t always seem to fit just right. It’s a mosaic of love, madness, and language.

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