If this novel is typical, there is a big difference between U.S. and Italian crime novels. Do not expect anything like “Lincoln Lawyer”. The actual crime and trial are secondary to the musings of the main character, Attorney Guido Guerrieri, And it seems that attorneys in Italy prepare for trial ONLY by reading the information given to them by the prosecuting attorney and police without doing any interviewing of witnesses or investigating on their own before trial. It’s very odd. Actually, frustrating is a better word.
I thought that since this is the first book in a series the author had decided to use most of novel introducing the reader to Guido, and you do grow to like him. He often mentions American books, music and art. He is finding himself after a divorce. But now I have started the second book, and more is being revealed about Guido, I am thinking that these books are more about how this man thinks, his humor, his self awareness and how he conducts himself within the legal system, then solving any “crime” or winning any trial.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
This is perhaps the most thoughtfully written crime novel I've come across . . . the story within the story of Guido's personal life during the trial was equally important . . . so much so that I think it led him to take the case to defend the peddler accused of killing the nine year old boy. Finally trusting his gut as to the man's innocence, with everything to lose, he plunges ahead. I loved the setting in Italy in the late 1990s, too. You can't miss with this one.
Typical cat lady: lazy, sings off-key, craves spicy bloody marys.
That title doesn't make much sense, but, like a rich Italian entree, I'm trying to figure out all the ingredients that made this short novel so enjoyable to listen to. The writing is precise and introspective, the tone is self-deprecating, the atmosphere, urban with a splash of European beach culture. The narration (not an Italian accent) is seductive, chiseled and intimate.
The story is besides the point...this is a character study squisito with Milhone-style details (instead of pulling on jeans and a sweatshirt, our protagonist slips into soft Italian loafers). Avvocato Guido shares his meals with us along with his embarrassments, unromantic notions and Italian points of law. Veramente buono!
You have to start with the fact that the book was written in Italian and that it's somewhat dated. So that excuses some of its shortcomings. The protagonist is a lawyer representing a client accused of murdering a child. The interesting part is that the book gives insights into the Italian court system and Italian countryside. (I'm going to Italy, which is why I bought it.) But the resolution of the case relies on supposedly insightful techniques that are old hat to anyone who watches Law and Order, CSI, Major Crimes -- you get the idea. Plus, about half the book is not dedicated to the case at all, but to the emotional problems of the lawyer after his wife leaves him. He goes for coffee, he lights a cigarette, he lights another cigarette, he has more coffee. It gets tedious.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
There's an interesting but very tiny and inconsequential courtroom thing hidden inside of this interminable character study of a character that wasn't worth the study. And the level of detail… AAARGH! I really didn't care what the guy wore out of the house to a plot-useless meeting. If you like walking beaches for hours on grey days to find shells… Well, do that. This book will still bore. ZZZZZZ…..
Retired Political Science professor from a community college. Especially like Legal Thrillers.
I strongly disagree with some of the rave reviews of this book. This is more of a psychological analysis of an Italian lawyer than it is about a murder case.
I feel like this book would fare better with Italian readers who might appreciate a more existential way of writing. I am all for existentialism, but not when it applies to a crime novel. You literally go half way into this book before you even understand what is going on with the man convicted of the crime, so its hard to care about the crime part of it. The rest is the narrator's marriage and random things about his life. I just don't feel like its a good mix. A crime novel succeeds for me when it is more plot driven, with the characters secondary. I'm an American though. I just felt like he wanted to write like Camus and Raymond Chandler at the same time. Before attempting this author, search Mediterranean Noir on Wikipedia to get a grasp for what this book is like. Aside from my qualms with the book itself, narration was great.
Enjoying one good listen after the next!
Some might label this book "slow" but not me. I thoroughly enjoyed the telling of this tale. The "slowness" would come from the fact that the book provides an interesting personal history of the lawyer at the center of the storm and listeners discover that this particular lawyer can be both detached and emotionally involved in his cases; has remarkable psychological quirks just like the rest of us; and doesn't always enjoy or even like his work or colleagues. These inclusions in the story create a thread of interest that keeps the listener eager for more.
This is not an action-packed court room drama that you may be used to hearing. But I found it very interesting, especially since it is set in the Italian court system.
Although I find the protagonist in the few of these books I have read quite charming, this particular reading is thronged with beyond tedious courtroom questions, procedures, identifications, etc. I found that when my mind drifted out of boredom, it really made no difference to where I was in the story. The main character is complex, yet very well developed and the reader is given entree to his inner persona. Were the story more interesting, it would have been a great read.
Even though Involuntary Witness has a courtroom subplot, it isn't a legal thriller or a mystery. It is a story of how a man, who happens to be an attorney, is shattered by and recovers from a divorce and grows as an individual. It wasn't what I expected from the title and the cover art, but I enjoyed listening. The courtroom story arc is extremely interesting and says a lot about the Italian legal system and immigration issues. I have no idea how the title relates to the story. The narrator does a nice job but he sounded too old. When he said "avvocato," the Italian word for attorney, it sounded like he was saying avocado. If you enjoy foreign films, you might enjoy this.