The New York Times
About Face (Guido Brunetti Series #18)by Donna Leon
Donna Leon’s eighteen novels have won her countless fans, heaps of critical acclaim, and a place among the top ranks of international crime writers. Through the warm-hearted, perceptive, and principled Commissario Guido Brunetti, Leon’s best-selling books have explored Venice in all its aspects: history, tourism, high culture, food, family, but also… See more details below
Donna Leon’s eighteen novels have won her countless fans, heaps of critical acclaim, and a place among the top ranks of international crime writers. Through the warm-hearted, perceptive, and principled Commissario Guido Brunetti, Leon’s best-selling books have explored Venice in all its aspects: history, tourism, high culture, food, family, but also violent crime and political corruption.
In About Face, Leon returns to one of her signature subjects: the environment, which has reached a crisis in Italy. Incinerators across the south of Italy are at full capacity, burning who-knows-what and releasing unacceptable levels of dangerous air pollutants, while in Naples, enormous garbage piles grow in the streets. In Venice, with the polluted waters of the canals and a major chemical complex across the lagoon, the issue is never far from the fore.
Environmental concerns become significant in Brunetti’s work when an investigator from the Carabiniere, looking into the illegal hauling of garbage, asks for a favor. But the investigator is not the only one with a special request. His father-in-law needs help and a mysterious woman comes into the picture. Brunetti soon finds himself in the middle of an investigation into murder and corruption more dangerous than anything he’s seen before.
The New York Times
In Leon's 18th novel, Commissario Brunetti delves deeply into Venice's (literal and figurative) pollution, navigating the choked canals as he tries to solve the murder of a truck driver. When his father-in-law asks him to look into the background of a potential business partner, Brunetti becomes fascinated with the business partner's wife-a former beauty now ravaged by a ruinous face lift. If the story evolves slowly, David Colacci manages to keep listeners hooked. His deep and direct voice drives the narrative, and his seamless transitions from description to dialogue are particularly impressive given the book's range of accents, genders and vocal styles. Despite the strong projection of his voice, Colacci can still shift his tone with his vocal characters to convey two people talking in confidence. His interpretation of Leon's book proves an excellent example of how a narrator can improve the actual story. An Atlantic Monthly hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 23). (Apr.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
With her 18th stellar entry in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series, Leon (Suffer the Little Children) continues to live up to the increasingly high standards set by each novel. Her latest brings the Venetian policeman into intertwining cases involving dangerous environmental hazards: mounting trash heaps and air and water pollution. As usual, the urbane, overeducated, laconic detective circumvents his self-indulgent, self-centered boss and other department dullards to solve a thorny murder case. Leon not only offers superb plotting and engaging dialog, but also captures the atmosphere of Venetian daily life. Thus, Brunetti enjoys frequent, leisurely meals with his wife and children. Leon's evocation of these meals is so delectable that readers feel as though they are participating in the repasts. For readers of literary mysteries, such as those by Deborah Crombie and Elizabeth George. Highly recommended for all public and university libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ12/08.]
Lynne F. Maxwell
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