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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

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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  • S. Horn
  • Cary, NC, United States
  • 06-27-14

"Evidence" means something different, in Italian

I confirm what other reviewers have said re: the excellent pacing, tone, character development, and story line of this novel and the spot on perfection of the narration. You are, by now, acquainted with the plot, so I won't bother to repeat the description.

What I found most astonishing about this book was the concept of evidence in the Italian court system. It is giving nothing away to say that all the "proof" presented in this criminal procedural is circumstantial in the purest sense of the word, and yet it is considered to be totally sufficient for conviction, not just by the prosecutors but also by our protagonist, the defense attorney. "Evidence" that would barely rise to the level of coincidence in a US investigation is enough to send a plaintiff to prison for life, in Italy. Given that the author knows whereof he speaks, I found this to be totally alien and absolutely chilling. It may happen here, but you tell me, after reading this book, if you see no difference between what the US and Italy consider to be sufficient proof in a court of law. For me, this dissonance lent a tension and sense of uneasiness, paranoia, and helplessness to the novel that I more usually associate with horror fiction than with crime novels.

The writing is excellent. The tone, despite what I've said, is serious but not gloomy, and there is much more going on here than a simple courtroom drama. Entirely worth your time.

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Golden Nugget of a Book!

What a gem! Didn't think I'd like this book as much as I did. Interesting character development. Definitely plan to continue the series.

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  • Karen
  • Lugoff, SC, United States
  • 05-20-14

Good story, confusing book

The story was really good, but too much else went on in this book for me.

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  • sam
  • Dardanelle, AR, United States
  • 05-17-14

great book, wrong narrator

The book is unusually well written and fresh. My only problem is that the narrator, Sean Barrett, seems miscast. He sounds too old and too self-conscious; he'd make a fine Richard III, but not Guido Guerrieri. Perhaps I'll just read the rest of the series w/o listening.

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Feeling Cheated

This story was not what I expected, I suppose, and so I feel cheated because it did not have the resolution of a real mystery or suspense novel. I don't want to give any spoilers but, well, unlike other legal thrillers, this one does not provide an investigation and capture of the real criminal....

This book was good in other ways, though. First, it provides a look into the Italian judicial system, which is especially interesting now in light of the Amanda Knox case. It's a system that seems bizarre to North Americans, I am sure.

Second, and best, was the narration. Sean Barrett (the narrator) did an amazing job conveying the personality of the novel's protagonist and narrator, the lawyer, Guido. He also was amazing at capturing different voices throughout the novel, and especially good at the Senegalese accent of the accused.

So, it wasn't an awful book, but I felt very cheated without a proper solving of the case. The story is really just about Guido coming to terms with his life situation, dragging himself back into life, taking on a very challenging case, and defending his client.

I bought this book as a Deal of the Day, so I don't feel too peeved. But I would have been very annoyed, indeed, if I had used a credit or paid more than $3 for it!

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  • Nick
  • East Haddam, CT, United States
  • 05-10-14

AMAZING!!

Where does Involuntary Witness rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

So far #1 Sean Barrett's narration was a work of art. His diction, pacing, pronunciations et al were wonderful.He did have a good story to work with but he made it sing for this listener. I very much enjoyed the descriptions of Italian jurisprudence and Sean's sophisticated manner, BRAVO!!

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

Yes, the flash-backs were small stories of their own each with an intriguing soryline.

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

Without a doubt it was the protagonist, Guido Guerrieri.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It did both but probably more of the former.

Any additional comments?

This is a very sophisticated legal thriller with a thoroughly engageing main character, hope to hear Sean Barrett perform Guido in future books.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Mary
  • Scotia, NY, United States
  • 05-09-14

What was it about?

I'm amazed that I listened to the whole thing. The only reason I stuck with it is because I kept thinking there had to be some kind of stunning plot twist coming up. But no, it just plodded along, wandering from the lawyer's pathetic personal life to the scarcely developed criminal case. The trial was unbelievable. The characters lacked any dimension. The narrator had a pleasant enough voice but it tended to lull me to sleep. I bought the title because it was a Daily Deal and I was out of credits; I don't recommend it.

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  • Jodie
  • Middletown, NY, United States
  • 05-09-14

I really enjoyed this book!

This was originally written in Italian and translated to English. It is a Grishamesq type of book, but Italian style. It was very interesting to listen to the way the courts work in another country. It was a very good book and I would definitely buy another book with this author and narrator.

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Book made me sit still and listen.

What did you love best about Involuntary Witness?

I loved the experience of listening to the metamorphosis/maturing of a personality and his relationship with people and life, in general, around him.

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I loved the whole Italian thing.....

What did you like best about Involuntary Witness? What did you like least?

I really enjoyed the book, but it was more about Guido and his personal life than what I thought should be the main story line - the trial of the accused murderer. Having said that, I'm not sorry I read it. I enjoyed the reading by Sean Barrett and the character development of Guido was enjoyable.

Spoiler Alert! Don't finish this part if you plan to read the book and don't want a clue about the ending.

I was just hoping that there might be a surprise ending or twist that I didn't see coming. The surprise ending was that there was no surprise ending.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

Oooops.... I think I answered this above. Better put in a spoiler alert warning.

What does Sean Barrett bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

His reading was excellent - and his Italian is very good.

Was Involuntary Witness worth the listening time?

Yes

Any additional comments?

No