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Involuntary Witness: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1 | [Gianrico Carofiglio]

Involuntary Witness: Guido Guerrieri Series, Book 1

A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.
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Publisher's Summary

A nine-year-old boy is found murdered at the bottom of a well near a popular beach resort in southern Italy. In what looks like a hopeless case for Guido Guerrieri, a Senegalese peddler is accused of the crime. Faced with small-town racism, Guido attempts to exploit the esoteric workings of the Italian courts. The voice of Sean Barrett brings this gritty Italian detective series to life.

©2005 Gianrico Carofiglio (P)2011 Audible Ltd

What the Critics Say

“Hard-boiled and sun-dried in equal parts. Where Philip Marlowe would be knocking back bourbon and listening to the snap of fist on jaw, Guido Guerrieri prefers Sicilian wine and Leonard Cohen. The role of Guerrieri is to take on impossible cases that have little chance of success. His efforts to prove his client's innocence bring him into dangerous conflict with Mafia interests. Everything a legal thriller should be.” (Financial Times)

''At one level an exciting courtroom thriller, but what places it in a superior league is the portrayal of a slice of Italian society not normally encountered in crime fiction and an immensely appealing flawed hero." (The Times, London)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (793 )
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3.8 (694 )
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4.1 (692 )
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Performance
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  •  
    dumbclub Penland, NC USA 07-28-12
    dumbclub Penland, NC USA 07-28-12 Member Since 2005

    Reader, Listener, Optimist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellence"

    Carofiglio has imagined this story from the benefit of his real life experiences as an Italian magistrate (similar to much better known attorneys-turned-authors, Grisham and Turow). The peculiarities of the italian legal system are effortlessly woven into the routine of the main character's life so that they are interesting to outsiders, and easily understood.

    Patrick Creagh's fluid translation coupled with Sean Barrett's elegant and versatile voice gives the illusion that this book was originally written in English. It is easy to take their efforts for granted, but successfully translated audiobooks are not that common ("The Thief" comes to mind as a poor effort).

    26 of 26 people found this review helpful
  •  
    chris United States 01-06-12
    chris United States 01-06-12 Member Since 2011

    I am exploring Scandinavian mysteries but also like mysteries set in other parts of the world. I also like reading Literary Fiction.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Surprisingly Poignant"
    What did you love best about Involuntary Witness?

    The protagonist of Involuntary Witness is very likable and warm. He is a man whose life is falling apart and the novel tells the story of how he fights back, through the defense of a client accused of murder.


    Have you listened to any of Sean Barrett’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    I have never listened to Sean Barrett before, but I will again. He is an exceptional performer.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Sean Barrett's performance of Abbou, the Senegalese man accused of murder, was surprisingly moving. That character seemed so real to me, my heart went out to him.


    Any additional comments?

    I am definitely coming for more books in the Guerrieri series. Carofiglio is a great find.

    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K Barrett 12-17-11
    K Barrett 12-17-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Maturity is the star here"
    What made the experience of listening to Involuntary Witness the most enjoyable?

    A trend in crime fiction seems to be endless musings over simple details of life. Carofiglio goes down that path, too. Yet he makes these musings meaningful rather than pulling you out of the story by wondering what polishing every little detail has to do with moving the story forward. Guido is a man who lives a flawed existance and still manages. I enjoyed being introduced to his world. And the crime in question is topical. I'd have rated it 4.5 stars overall if that was possible.


    What about Sean Barrett???s performance did you like?

    I've listened to several books by Sean Barrett. His voice and reading truly adds to this story. His sense of worldliness comes through turning what could be a whiny yarn into musings of a man who has lived a full yet flawed life.


    22 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ch Portland, OR USA 12-30-11
    ch Portland, OR USA 12-30-11 Member Since 2002

    I love to read and hope you do too! Audio books are great for people on the go!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great series...hope audible gets all these books!"

    I heard an interview of Giancarlo Carofiglio on the Alan Farley radio show Book Talk and subsequently read the last book in the series from my library. It was awesome, and so I've been listening to all the audible copies (books one to three at this point). I love the character's inner dialog, the tight court procedurals, and the life lessons he learns or experiences in each book. The author resists the temptation to preach his point, and lets the action tell the story. I think the reader has just the right tone too. Well done!

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 10-03-11
    Rollin Cholula, Mexico 10-03-11 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Extraordinary Italian "procedural""

    Although I use the term "procedural" to identify this wonderful novel with a well-known genre, Involuntary Witness is much, much more. A very personal, first person perspective by a defense attorney in the city of Bari, faced with defending a young African accused of murdering a child. The narrative moves constantly among the trial proceedings and the attorney's personal life, his struggle to come to terms with his divorce, the possibility of a new love, and his jaded view of the law and the courts. It is magnificently narrated by Sean Barrett. I will certainly look for more books by Carofiglio and more performances by Barrett.

    18 of 18 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 08-04-12
    Kathy Bedford, TX, United States 08-04-12 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "WOW!"

    A little bit of Grisham, a little bit of Connolly and a little bit of Rumpole of the Bailey and that really doesn’t touch how good Gianrico Gainfiglio’s books are. The protagonist, Avvocato Guido Guerrieri, is smart, flawed, and has a wonderful self-deprecating humor.

    Well written, expertly narrated series about an Italian lawyer and his vibrant world.

    29 of 30 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-26-14
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 01-26-14 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Well Written"

    I decided to read “Involuntary Witness” because it was an English translation of an Italian book. Thought I would get a feel of the culture, and as it is a legal mystery, some information about the Italian court system. The author, Gianrico Carofiglio, was a prosecutor in Bari Italy and now is a Senator in Rome. The book opens with Guido Guerrieri, a defense attorney, marriage ending with his wife demanding a divorce. There follows a year long bout of insomnia, panic attacks, depression and barely able to function in his job. He decided to take up boxing which he did when he was a young man and this helps him come out of his depression. He then takes on a case of a Senegalese peddler accused of murdering a young boy. Guerrieri realizes his client is innocent therefore; he is under greater stress to get him off. It was interesting to see the attitudes toward immigration by the Italians. I was most interested in the court system. Apparently there are two types of trials in Italy a shortened procedure which the prosecutor presents his case to the judge, but no witness are called, the advantage to the defendant is a reduced sentence. The other trial is the Assize court in front of two judges and six member jury and a full trial but if found guilty a longer sentence is given. The book is well written and easy to read. Sean Barrett did a good job narrating the book, loved the sound of the Italian words.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Eileen Huntington, NY, USA 04-14-12
    Eileen Huntington, NY, USA 04-14-12 Member Since 2007
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    "Brilliantly done!"
    What did you love best about Involuntary Witness?

    Everything. The narration was excellent too.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    Two-thirds of what we see is behind our eyes.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best books I've read in a long time. An Italian legal thriller who's protagonist Guido Guerrieri is an attorney/investigator who's life seems to be coming undone. At the same time he must defend a man accused of murder and who faces life in prison. The story is not only captivating in sequence, its written with the highest degree of intelligence and reasoning. There are many poignant moments in the book which make all the more memorable. It's also a bit of a love story too. I enjoy visiting another part of the world without having to make travel plans. I will definitely be reading more of his books.

    8 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Julie Campbell 12-25-12

    critic at large

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    "One of my top ten reads for the year."

    I don't care for legal mysteries but this will make my top ten reads of the year. More than half the book is about Guido Guerrieri, the Advocato in the criminal courts. The case he is defending is one of a Senegalese peddler who is accused of kidnapping and strangling a small Italian boy whom he was friends with. The case hangs, not on proving someone else did it, nor even proving the accused did not do it. Instead, in a brilliant piece of writing, Guido offers in his closing argument a monologue on the multiple natures of "truth".

    Special kudos to Patrick Creagh, the translator. So perfect is his translation that the reader would never guess the book had been written in Italian.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 07-23-12 Member Since 2010
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    "good entertainment"
    Any additional comments?

    I have read all 4 of Carofiglio's books and have enjoyed them all, especially the first 2. They are entertaining and I found the differences between the Italian and the American judicial system is very interesting. Sean Barret is probably my favorite reader; he is always excellent.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-10 of 60 results PREVIOUS126NEXT
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  • Corinne
    Crewe, United Kingdom
    10/12/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Crime from an unusual aspect"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    I would recommend this book very highly. The main character is brilliant, deeply flawed and very human, he has a dark side but is also humane. I would advise reading the books in the sequence they were written in to get the full benefit of developments. I wish they would translate all Carofiglio's books into English. It is also brilliantly read by Sean Barrett.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Involuntary Witness?

    It's hard to pick a ' memorable moment '. It's not a ' Bang Bang, Stab Stab, Car Chase ' book. The evolution of the main character and plot make it all memorable. I just wish there were more books. I hated to finish each one, it's always lile the loss of a good friend when you finish one.


    What about Sean Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Flawless performance from Sean Barrett. He IS the character. You would think he'd written it himself.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes because it's so good. No because I wanted it to last.


    Any additional comments?

    YES YES YES. I WANT MORE!!!! PLEASE LET US HAVE THE NEXT ONE IN THE SERIES.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Alasdair
    United Kingdom
    4/9/13
    Overall
    "An Unlikely Crusader"

    Absorbing is probably the best way to describe the impact that this book had on me. Primarily it is a courtroom drama and is successful in both depiction and execution. However, at the same time, it successfully makes the effort to develop the characters to make them believable. Sean Barrett's narration, almost world-weary at times, seems to match the persona of Guido, the advocate who is the central character.



    It is set in south-eastern Italy (around the heel) largely in the province of Puglia. As might be expected there is bags of emotion and heart-searching and, before you know it, you are dragged into the unfolding dramas inside and outside the courtroom. The book is not for the impatient but rewards those who run the course. The characters are carefully drawn in the course of the book and yet there remains the ability to them to surprise you throughout the book whilst they maintain their credibility as real people.



    At no time do you feel that the pace of the book is determined by anything other than the natural unfolding of events. There is no forced extension to make the book longer nor is there any rush to the conclusion. It just moves at its own pace drawing the reader along with it.



    I was a little concerned about buying a translated version of an Italian novel as translators can be too literal or try to insert their own interpretation into the novel. At no time was I conscious of this being a translated story and forgot that it was anything other than a novel originally written in another language.



    All-in-all it is worth every one of the five stars and I look forward to listening to the next episode.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • Richard
    Pembrokeshire, United Kingdom
    1/10/13
    Overall
    "Great Little Book."

    This is my first book by this author. It was brought to my attention when I read that Sean Barrett, the narrator of so many great audio books, recommended the novels in this series, and said that he greatly enjoyed recording the books.

    This book is both a legal thriller and a study into human emotions and frailties,. The main character is a wonderful mix of tough lawyer anda man on the edge of an emotional breakdown.

    Set in southern Italy the author beutifully describes the native way of life and the small town and it's picturesque surroundings.

    The Plot is engageing and the whole book is superbly written. The dulcet tones of Sean Barrett, just brings this great book to life. I thoroughly enjoyed this great little book.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  • boosmummy
    Yorkshire, UK
    2/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Different than the usual"
    What did you like best about this story?

    I got this book as it had good reviews and I'd not read any by this particular author. I love the fact that this legal thriller isn't like the usual type with all the jumping up and shouting. The author draws you into the central character Guido Guerrieri with his flaws, vulnerabilities and I loved the closing arguments. The fact that it wasn't set in the usual legal system that most of us know gave the book an edge for me as it didn't feel like reading 'just another court case' novel.


    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • Reader
    United Kingdom
    11/7/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "What a surprise (pleasant)"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    I had never heard of Carafiglio - why not ?? This is a really excellent story. Simple, I suppose, but entertaining in the extreme.

    Do listen if you like self-contemplative, self-deprecatory, musings of the main character (somewhat reminiscent of Wallander I thought) wrapped up in a fine enough legal drama. And of course all smothered in those Sean Barrett tones.

    First class discovery - ok the mean part of me begrudges a whole credit on a short book - only around 7 hours - but that's the way it is.

    I apologise if it isn't for you, but I'm not going to be apologising much I guess.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Steven
    Harrogate, United Kingdom
    10/24/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Heart warming story of individuals' triumphing"

    Initially the lead character appeared unpleasant and unlikeable, but cometh the hour and the true character emerged and won me over. I don't usually like extensive character development, but here I did and didn't see as a digression. The story is a little predictable but unfolds well. Overall a heart warming story, and a lead charcter I am very keen to hear much more of, and have the next books in the series already loaded! Enjoy. Excellent delivery by Sean Barrett as ever.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Rozalind
    Lancaster, United Kingdom
    8/18/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Towards the end I couldn't stop listening"
    If you could sum up Involuntary Witness in three words, what would they be?

    Interesting, gradually intriguing


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Involuntary Witness?

    Guido's summing up during the trial! I had to sit in the car outside work until he finished!!


    Which character – as performed by Sean Barrett – was your favourite?

    Guido - I slowly fell in love with him as I listened


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When his neighbour told Guido her life history


    Any additional comments?

    A beautifully written book that had quite a slow Gentle pace it's left me wanting more! can't wait to listen to the next book.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  • Lynda
    Beckenham, United Kingdom
    10/23/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Good introduction to Guerrieri series"
    What made the experience of listening to Involuntary Witness the most enjoyable?

    Excellent narrator Sean Barrett tells the story well In general and somehow manages to bring out the charm of the central character and endears him to you .... Endeared him to me anyway ,


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoy legal stories and this one seemed to include humour, pathos, legal intrigue and an interesting main character


    What about Sean Barrett’s performance did you like?

    Barrett differentiates between voices spectacularly well and with great subtlety where women's voices are concerned. I find I am completely convinced that the character is female without any artificial,high pitched voice that some readers affect. Something to do with a subtle shift in tone I think. An excellent narrator.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    I couldn't pick out a particular moment. I enjoyed the book as a whole.


    Any additional comments?

    I was inspired to read all the other books in the series. I particularly like the 'mental asides' by the central character. A bizarre mixture of self deprecation, arrogance and humour.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Lucy
    Ramsgate, United Kingdom
    7/9/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Slow burner but glad I stuck with it!"

    I really wasn't sure what to expect with this but I am glad I decided to give it a go. Nearly gave up but stuck with it and so pleased I did. Really got to know the characters and get into the story- a different style to normal with court room drama but also the backdrop to the characters. A thoroughly enjoyable listen once I got into the story and will be buying more.

    Maybe it was Sean Barrett that made the story - he really is my number one narrator!

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • pedaller
    11/21/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Boring self-indulgent meanderings"
    What was most disappointing about Gianrico Carofiglio’s story?

    This book is less about the story (which could have been interesting and entertaining) than about the depressingly uninteresting Central character, avocato guido. Hours are spent describing his inconsequential meetings with women, or his mental state, or his favourite songs, or his endless cigarettes. I cannot help feeling that as the author is also an avocato in Bari, this is self-indulgently autobiographical. He seems to think that a blow by blow account of a magnificent defence Is interesting reading, whereas it comes across self-congratulatory and arrogant. And boring. I will definitely not be reading any more by this author.


    Any additional comments?

    Although Sean barratt gave this an excellent performance, it did not make up for the annoyance and irrelevance of the writing.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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