The Cold Summer

The Cold Summer

by Gianrico Carofiglio, Howard Curtis

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Overview

The summer of 1992 had been exceptionally cold in southern Italy. But that’s not why it is remembered. That summer ushered in a spate of killings by the Mafia of judges and police officers, most of them assassinated near Palermo. The Sicilian killings and ensuing gang wars also infected the Bari region in Puglia triggering an investigation by local Carabinieri officer Pietro Fenoglio, the hero of Carofiglio’s latest novel.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781912242047
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press, Ltd
Publication date: 09/04/2018
Series: Pietro Fenoglio , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 416,378
File size: 978 KB
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Gianrico Carofiglio was born in Bari in 1961 and has worked for many years as a prosecutor specialized in organized crime. He was appointed advisor of the anti-Mafia committee in the Italian parliament in 2007 and has served as senator from 2008 to 2013. He is the author of the novels featuring the character of defense lawyer Guido Guerrieri: A Walk in the Dark, 2003,Temporary Perfections, 2010, A Fine Line, 2014. He was awarded the Premio Gargano Vincenzo Afferrante in 2015, and the Premio Letterario Castelfiorentino in 2016. Carofiglio’s multi-award winner books have sold four million and five hundred thousand copies in Italy and have been translated or are going to be translated into 27 languages worldwide.

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Fenoglio walked into the Caffè Bohème with the newspaper he'd just bought in his jacket pocket and sat down at the table by the window. He liked the place because the owner was a music lover and every day chose a soundtrack of famous romantic arias and orchestral pieces. That morning, the background was the Intermezzo from Cavalleria Rusticana, and given what was happening in the city, Fenoglio wondered if it was just coincidence.

The barman made him his usual extra-strong cappuccino and brought it to him together with a pastry filled with custard and black cherry jam.

Everything was the same as ever. The music was discreet but quite audible to those who wanted to listen to it. The regular customers came in and out. Fenoglio ate his pastry, sipped at his cappuccino and skimmed through the newspaper.

The main focus of the local pages was the Mafia war that had suddenly broken out in the northern districts of the city and the unfortunate fact that nobody – not the police, not the Carabinieri, not the judges – had any idea what was going on.

He started reading an article in which the editor himself, with a profusion of helpful advice, informed the law enforcement agencies how to tackle and solve the phenomenon. Finding the article engrossing and irritating in equal measure, he did not notice the young man with the syringe until the latter was already standing in front of the cashier and yelling, in almost incomprehensible dialect, "Give me all the money, bitch!"

The woman didn't move, as if paralysed. The young man held out the hand with the syringe until it was close to her face. In an impressively hoarse voice, he told her he had AIDS and yelled at her again to give him everything there was in the till. She moved slowly, her eyes wide with terror. She opened the till and started taking out the money, while the young man kept telling her to be quick about it.

Fenoglio's hand closed over the robber's wrist just as the woman was passing over the money. The young man tried to jerk round, but Fenoglio made an almost delicate movement – a half turn – twisting his arm and pinning it behind his back. With the other hand, he grabbed him by the hair and pulled his head back.

"Throw away the syringe."

The young man gave a muffled growl and tried to wriggle free. Fenoglio increased the pressure on his arm and pulled his head back even further. "I'm a carabiniere." The syringe fell to the floor with a small, sharp sound.

The cashier began crying. The other customers started to move, slowly at first, then at a normal speed, as if waking from a spell.

"Nicola, call 112," Fenoglio said to the barman, having ruled out the idea that the cashier might be in a fit state to use the telephone.

"Down on your knees," he said to the robber. From the polite tone he used, he might have been expected to add: "Please."

As the young man knelt, Fenoglio let go of his hair but kept hold of his arm, although not roughly, almost as if it were a procedural formality.

"Now lie face down and put your hands together behind your head."

"Don't beat me up," the young man said.

"Don't talk nonsense. Lie down, I don't want to stay like this until the car arrives."

The young man heaved a big sigh, a kind of lament for his misfortune, and obeyed. He stretched out, placing one cheek on the floor, and put his hands on the back of his neck with almost comical resignation.

In the meantime, a small crowd had gathered outside.

Some of the customers had gone out and told them what had happened. People seemed excited, as if the moment had come to fight back against the current crime wave.

Some were yelling. Two young men walked into the café and made to approach the robber.

"Where are you going?" Fenoglio asked.

"Give him to us," said the more agitated of the two, a skinny, spotty-faced fellow with glasses.

"I'd be glad to," Fenoglio said. "What do you plan to do with him?"

"We'll make sure he doesn't do it again," the skinny fellow said, taking a step forward.

"Have we ever had you down at the station?" Fenoglio asked them, with a smile that seemed friendly.

Taken aback, the man did not reply immediately.

"No, why?"

"Because I'll make sure you spend all day there, and maybe all night, too, if you don't get out of here right now."

The two men looked at each other. The spotty-faced young man stammered something, trying not to lose face; the other shrugged and gave a grimace of superiority, also trying not to lose face. Then they left the café together.

The little crowd dispersed spontaneously.

A few minutes later, the Carabinieri cars pulled up outside and two uniformed corporals and a sergeant came into the café and saluted Fenoglio with a mixture of deference and unconscious wariness. They handcuffed the robber and pulled him bodily to his feet.

"I'm coming with you," Fenoglio said, after paying the cashier for the cappuccino and the pastry, heedless of the barman's attempts to stop him.

CHAPTER 2

"I've seen you somewhere before," Fenoglio said, turning to the back seat and addressing the young man he had just arrested.

"I used to stand near the Petruzzelli in the evening when there was a show on. I parked people's cars. You must have seen me there."

Of course – that was it. Up until a few months earlier he had been an unlicensed car park attendant near the Teatro Petruzzelli. Then the theatre had been destroyed in a fire and he had lost his job. That was how the young man put it: "I lost my job," as if he had been working for a company and they'd dismissed him or closed down. So he'd started selling cigarettes and stealing car radios.

"But you make hardly anything at that. I'm not up to doing burglaries, so I thought I could rob places with the syringe."

"Congratulations, a brilliant idea. And how many robberies have you committed?"

"I haven't committed any, corporal, would you fucking believe it? This was my first one and I had to run into you, for fuck's sake."

"He isn't a corporal, he's a marshal," the carabiniere at the wheel corrected him.

"Sorry, marshal. You aren't in uniform, so I had no idea.

I swear it was my first time."

"I don't believe you," Fenoglio said. But it wasn't true.

He did believe him, he even liked him. He was funny: his timing when he spoke was almost comical. Maybe in another life he might have been an actor or a stand-up, instead of a petty criminal.

"I swear it. And besides, I'm not a junkie and I don't have AIDS. That was all bullshit. I can't stand needles. If talking bullshit is a crime, then they should give me a life sentence, because I talk a lot of it. But I'm just an idiot.

Put in a good word for me in your report, write that I came quietly."

"Yes, you did."

"The syringe was new, you know, I just put a bit of iodine in it to look like blood and to scare people."

"You do talk a lot, don't you?"

"Sorry, marshal. I'm shitting my pants here. I've never been to prison."

Fenoglio had a strong desire to let him go. He would have liked to tell the carabiniere at the wheel: stop and give me the keys to the handcuffs. Free the boy – he still didn't know his name – and throw him out of the car. He had never liked arresting people, and he found the very idea of prison quite disturbing. But that's not something you broadcast when you're a marshal in the Carabinieri. Of course, there were exceptions, for certain crimes, certain people. Like the fellow they'd arrested a few months earlier, who'd been raping his nine-year-old granddaughter – his daughter's daughter – for months.

In that case, it had been hard for him to stop his men from dispensing a bit of advance justice, by way of slaps, punches and kicks. It's tough sometimes to stick to your principles.

It was obvious he couldn't free this young man. That would be an offence – several offences in fact. But similarly absurd ideas went through his head increasingly often.

He made a decisive gesture with his hand, as if to dismiss these troublesome thoughts, almost as if they were entities hovering in front of him.

"What's your name?"

"Francesco Albanese."

"And you say you've never been inside?"

"Never, I swear."

"You were obviously good at not getting caught."

The young man smiled. "Not that I ever did anything special. Like I said, a few cigarettes, a few cars, spare parts."

"And I guess you sell a bit of dope, too, am I right?"

"Okay, just a bit, where's the harm in that? You're not arresting me for these things as well now, are you?"

Fenoglio turned away to look at the road, without replying. They got to the offices of the patrol car unit and Fenoglio quickly wrote out an arrest report. He told the sergeant who had come on the scene to complete the papers for the Prosecutors' Department and the prison authorities, and to inform the assistant prosecutor. Then he turned to the robber. "I'm going now. You'll appear before the judge later this morning. When you talk to your lawyer, tell him you want to plea-bargain. You'll get a suspended sentence and you won't have to go to prison."

The young man looked at him with eyes like those of a dog grateful to its master for removing a thorn from its paw. "Thank you, marshal. If you ever need anything, I hang out between Madonnella and the Petruzzelli – you can find me at the Bar del Marinaio. Anything you want, I'm at your disposal."

This second reference to the Teatro Petruzzelli put Fenoglio in a bad mood. A few months earlier someone had burned it down, and he still couldn't get over it. How could anyone even think of such an act? To burn down a theatre. And then there was the absurd, almost unbearable fact – God alone knew if it was a coincidence or if the arsonists had wanted to add a touch of macabre irony – of burning it down after a performance of Norma, an opera that actually ends with a funeral pyre.

The Petruzzelli was one of the reasons he liked – had liked? – living in Bari.

That huge theatre which could hold two thousand people, just ten minutes on foot from the station where he worked. Often, if there was a concert or an opera, Fenoglio would stay in the office until evening and then go straight there and up to the third tier, among the friezes and the stucco. When he was there, he could almost believe in reincarnation. He felt the music so intensely – that of some composers, above all baroque ones, especially Handel – that he imagined that in another life he must have been a kapellmeister in some provincial German town.

And now that the theatre was gone? God alone knew if they would ever rebuild it, and God alone knew if those responsible would ever be tracked down, tried and sentenced.

The Prosecutor's Department had opened a case file to investigate "arson by persons unknown". A good way of saying that they hadn't the slightest idea what had happened. Fenoglio would have liked to handle the investigation, but it had been entrusted to others, and he couldn't do anything about it.

"All right, Albanese. Don't do anything stupid. Not too stupid, anyway." He gave him a slap on the shoulder and walked off in the direction of his own office.

At the door he found a young carabiniere waiting for him.

"The captain wants to speak to you. He'd like you to go to his office."

Captain Valente was the new commanding officer of the Criminal Investigation Unit. Fenoglio hadn't yet decided if he liked the man or was made uncomfortable by him. Perhaps both. He was certainly different from the other officers he'd had to deal with during his twenty years in the Carabinieri.

He had arrived only a few days earlier, bang in the middle of this criminal war that didn't yet make sense to anyone. He came from Headquarters in Rome, and nobody knew why he had been sent to Bari.

"Come in, Marshal Fenoglio," the captain said as soon as he saw him at the door.

That was one of the things that puzzled him: Captain Valente addressed everyone formally, always using rank and surname. The unnamed rule of behaviour for officers is that you use rank and surname towards your superiors and call your subordinates by their surnames, or even their first names. And of course, among those of the same rank, first-name terms are the rule. Among non-commissioned officers, things are less clear, but in general it's rare to find the commanding officer of a unit being so formal with all his men.

Why did he behave in that way? Did he prefer to keep a distance between himself and his subordinates? Was he a particularly formal man? Or particularly shy?

"Good morning, sir," Fenoglio said.

"Please sit down," Valente said, motioning him to a chair. That combination of formality and cordiality was hard to make sense of. Then there was the decor of the room: no pennants, no crests, no military calendars; nothing to suggest that this was the office of a captain in the Carabinieri. There was a TV set, a good-quality stereo, a sofa and some armchairs; a small refrigerator and some pictures in an expressionistic style, somewhat in the manner of Egon Schiele. There was a slight perfume in the air, coming, in all probability, from an incense burner. Not exactly a martial kind of accessory.

"I've been wanting to talk to you for the past two days.

I'm afraid I've come to Bari at a bad time."

"That's true, sir. And with the lieutenant's accident, you don't even have a second-in-command."

The lieutenant had broken a leg playing football and would be out of action for three months. So the unit had found itself with a new captain who had no knowledge of the city and its criminal geography and was without a second-in-command, all in the middle of a Mafia war.

"Can you explain what's going on in this city?" Valente said.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Cold Summer"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Gianrico Carofiglio.
Excerpted by permission of Bitter Lemon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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The Cold Summer 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
“This may be armchair philosophy, but I think certain jobs should be done by those who don’t feel right for it … Feeling a little out of place helps to make us more vigilant. Someone who feels absolutely right for it … doesn’t notice important details.” The Cold Summer is the second book in the Pietro Fenoglio series by Italian author, Gianrico Carofiglio. The summer of 1992 in southern Italy has started out violently with the murder of an anti-mafia judge. Many are shocked by this awful crime, not least Pietro Fenoglio. Fenoglio is a Marshal with the Carabinieri, and the escalation of violence in Apulia has him concerned. Some believe it a result of friction within the local Societa Nostra, between the boss, Nicola Grimaldi and his lieutenants. When Grimaldi’s young son is rumoured to have been kidnapped, everyone suspects Vito Lopez, who appears to be the one waging war on his boss. Fenoglio is not entirely convinced, though, and when Lopez approaches the Carabinieri to offer information about the Societa Nostra’s operations, Fenoglio realises he needs to further investigate the kidnapping. Once all conventional avenues prove fruitless, he takes a novel approach. Carofiglio gives the reader a fast-paced tale that appears to be part fiction, part history. His own background as an anti-mafia prosecutor is much in evidence throughout the story, giving it an authenticity that is palpable. He uses a few clever devices to convey a large number of necessary facts: Fenoglio needs to brief a new Captain about past events as the lieutenant is absent; and the criminal who decides to offer information to the Carabinieri is intelligent, educated and articulate, making his lengthy testimony nonetheless interesting. Pietro Fenoglio is an interesting character: he’s forty-one, with an education in literature but a passion for justice. He’s a little distracted by the absence of his wife and the possible disintegration of his marriage. There’s a lot about his job that he dislikes, but “I like finding out what happened. In so far as it’s possible. I like that people trust me and decide to tell me what they know, even in the most unexpected situations. I like it when what I do – and it does happen – gives a little dignity back to those who’ve lost it. It gives meaning to chaos.” He has his rules: “Not lying to yourself (lying to others is inevitable), not making it personal, not getting too fond of your own conjectures, not abusing your own power. These are rules of behaviour, and in order to respect them you have to be aware of a fundamental truth: sooner or later, you will break all of them. You’re always walking a thin line, where balance is precarious. You always have to be on to avoid slipping and falling on the wrong side … the most important of all: you have to do your best.” This excellent example of gritty Italian crime fiction is flawlessly translated from the Italian by Howard Curtis. It can easily be read as a stand-alone (the first volume has not been translated into English) and reads are likely to want to search out more translations of work by this talented author. This unbiased review is from an unsolicited copy provided by Text Publishing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
excellent+eriting