The Past Is a Foreign Country
Review: Two young men become partners in a life of crime in The Past Is a Foreign Country, a stand-alone novel of suspense by Gianrico Carofiglio set, in the coastal town of Bari in southern Italy.
During a Christmas party in 1988, Giorgio Cipriani breaks up a fight that has broken out between Francesco Carducci, a college acquaintance, and three other men. The two leave the party together and strike up a friendship. Though Francesco is just a couple years older than Giorgio, he seems (at least to Giorgio) many years wiser. Francesco is worldly and edgy and a man of questionable principles, who makes a living by cheating at cards. Fascinated by his new friend's lifestyle, Giorgio drops out of law school, breaks up with his girlfriend, and starts to pursue an alternate life dream, one of fast cars, beautiful women, fine wine, designer drugs … and crime. At some point Giorgio realizes he's gone too far, but Francesco is insistent that he continue. But what are the consequences of moving forward — or possibly more forbidding — backing away
The Past Is a Foreign Country is a complex novel that constantly keeps the reader off guard, in large part through a separate, parallel plotline involving a series of unsolved rapes being investigated by a local police lieutenant. Lt. Chiti is new to the region, but is seemingly unprepared for the criminal element that lurks unseen, but not unknown, just behind the city's picturesque facade. The two plots aren't necessarily connected — Giorgio and Francesco head off for Spain at one point as part of a cocaine smuggling operation, yet the crimes continue in Bari — but some inference is almost certainly expected. Definitely intriguing, The Past Is a Foreign Country is one of those psychological thrillers that will delight some readers with its intricacy while others will ponder the conclusion and wonder what they may have missed along the way.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Past Is a Foreign Country.
Acknowledgment: Minotaur Books provided a copy of The Past Is a Foreign Country for this review.
Review Copyright © 2010 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Location(s) referenced in The Past Is a Foreign Country: Italy
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The Past Is a Foreign Country by Gianrico Carofiglio
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Publication Date: July 2010
List Price: $24.99