Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Master of KnotsThe Master of Knots by Massimo Carlotto
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Massimo Carlotto's "The Master of Knots" is the fifth novel in the so-called Alligator series. I have not read the previous four books, and it is now even more unlikely that I will read them, maybe except the first. I do not like book series because of their repetitiveness.

The narrator, Marco, nicknamed "Alligator" because of the drink he favors, is an ex-convict who works as an unlicensed private detective. His two associates are ex-convicts too (in fact one is quite a hardened gangster) and their connections to the Italian crime world help Marco solve the cases. The story deals with the gruesome world of S & M and violent pornography. Marco's client hires him to find his missing wife, who has been kidnapped because of her work as an S & M model. Very soon it becomes clear that the client is not telling the truth. The plot involves a lot of brutality, and some passages related to violent pornography are quite graphic. I find the plot rather naive, and the character of the gangster who keeps killing people yet has a heart of gold is - to put it mildly - ridiculous.

The only valuable parts of the novel are the well-written fragments about extreme police brutality in handling the anti-G8-summit protests in Genoa in 2001. One of Marco's associates is an anti-globalization activist and he gets severely beaten by police during the protest, beaten to the extent that he barely survives. The author, Massimo Carlotto, was himself imprisoned for many years, for crimes he had not committed, so it is no wonder that for him the police are the worst kind of human scum, and the judicial system is totally crooked.

If not for the Genoa protests thread, this would be a one-star novel. The political activism issues elevate my rating to

Two stars.

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