In the Name of Ishmael

Overview

A stunning literary thriller of international political intrigue, In the Name of Ishmael features two interlocking stories that weave a gripping conspiracy plot with a serial killer narrative—culminating in a shattering climax that delivers an astonishing surprise.

Milan, 1962. David Montorsi, an earnest young police detective, is obsessed by a death that his colleagues conspicuously ignore: a child found murdered and half-buried under a World War II monument in a soccer ...

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Overview

A stunning literary thriller of international political intrigue, In the Name of Ishmael features two interlocking stories that weave a gripping conspiracy plot with a serial killer narrative—culminating in a shattering climax that delivers an astonishing surprise.

Milan, 1962. David Montorsi, an earnest young police detective, is obsessed by a death that his colleagues conspicuously ignore: a child found murdered and half-buried under a World War II monument in a soccer stadium. Montorsi's investigation leads him into a world of secret assassinations and danger—engineered, it seems, by the elusive figure named Ishmael.

Milan, 2001. Another detective, Guido Lopez—jaded almost past caring—investigates the random killing of a stranger on the street. Against his will he is ensnared in a plot that leads him deep into Europe's political underworld where bizarre and ritualistic acts of sex and murder—orchestrated by Ishmael—ultimately threaten the security of the West.

In their parallel quests to uncover the identity of Ishmael, Montorsi and Lopez struggle to assemble pieces of the puzzle that connect to a series of inexplicable events, from the killing of an Italian press magnate to a sadomasochistic secret society. Both are led ever closer to the seemingly omnipotent yet invisible Ishmael—who may not only direct the deaths of innocents but determine the fates of nations.

Set in a Milan shadowed by rain, cold, and menace, as well as in Paris, Frankfurt, and Brussels, and spanning not just generations but a Europe and an America in profound conflict, In the Name of Ishamel is both an extraordinarily original thriller and a bold exploration of the hidden uses of power.


About the Author

Giuseppe Genna was born in Milan in 1969. He has worked in Italian television and was the editor-in-chief of Poesia, a literary journal. In the Name of Ishmael is his first U.S. publication.

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Editorial Reviews

The New Yorker
This baroque thriller, set in a Milan where mist seems to continually pour from the ground, opens with two apparently unconnected events: the discovery of a murdered child, buried under a war memorial, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962; and, almost four decades later, the shooting of a man in the street on the eve of an international political conference. Chapters shift between the two detectives pursuing the investigations. The tortuous plot -- involving sadomasochistic clubs, fringe sects, and assassins -- hinges on the historical figure of Enrico Mattei, an Italian industrialist who died in a plane crash in 1962 under suspicious circumstances. The author, a poet and journalist, writes with jittery, propulsive energy, and he can stop the reader cold with a single image, as when he describes, at the crash site of Mattei's plane, the unbroken, blood-stained trees.
Publishers Weekly
A terrorist gang headed by the mysterious Ishmael of the title is the target of two police investigations, one in 1962 and the other in 2001, in this intricate novel of suspense and intrigue set in Milan. As Genna spins his linked stories of murder and organized crime, he weaves a web of mind games, trickery and looming threat. In 1962, the body of a 10-month-old baby boy is found on a rugby field, a "homicide with a sexual component." Inspector David Montorsi, charged with the investigation, is particularly troubled by the case because his wife, Maura, is pregnant with their first child. As he draws closer to the ring of terrorists who seem the likely perpetrators, he and his wife are entangled in their deadly schemes. In 2001, a simple murder leads Inspector Guido Lopez to an underworld of sadomasochism associated with the still-unidentified Ishmael. Meanwhile, the international participants in an economic conference-including Henry Kissinger, who is revealed to play a sinister role in Genna's tale-converge on Milan. The double plot is clever, but often unnecessarily tangled and burdened with lengthy philosophical musings. By the time the two investigations finally converge and the criminal, political and spiritual aims of Ishmael are revealed, many readers will feel stifled by the dense web of conspiracy and counter-conspiracy. 5-city author tour. (July) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Although a best seller in Italy, this thriller lacks everything that makes reading enjoyable. It follows two Milan detectives from different eras: Inspector David Montorsi, who is investigating a child's death in October 1962, just after the Cuban Missile Crisis, and Inspector Guido Lopez, who is assigned to a protection unit for an upcoming conference in March 2001. During their prospective assignments, both men uncover evidence of a secret cult of assassins led by the enigmatic Ishmael, whose real identity is just one aspect of this novel that makes it less than compelling. In addition, the main characters are repugnant and uninteresting, the novel throws in famous people for no apparent reason, and a haphazard translation from Italian makes the book difficult to read. Avoid this book at all costs.-Jeff Ayers, Seattle P.L. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Two police investigations—one in 1962, the other in 2001—converge on a sect that may front a political organization threatening Italy and the rest of Europe. A thriller with the name "Ishmael" in its title gives one pause, as, so it happens, does its plot, which centers on a plan to assassinate Henry Kissinger. Kissinger is no de Gaulle, and this Italian author’s US debut is, alas, no The Day of the Jackal or Moby Dick. Genna crosscuts between two storylines, both played out in a dispiriting Milan. The first, set in 1962, follows Inspector David Montorsi as he searches for the murderer of a four-year-old whose mangled body was left at the site of a memorial for WWII partisans. Montorsi soon suspects that his department wants to cover up the incident: his office is searched, then his superiors take him off the case. Working on his own, he teams up with a helpful reporter, who then turns up murdered. Worst of all, Montorsi’s pregnant, adulterous wife is also taken out in one of many scenes that some will find repellent for their psychological, sexual, and physical violence. The second story concerns Inspector Guido Lopez, who, in 2001, tries to head off an assassination of Kissinger. Lopez’s superiors try but fail to keep him away from the case. Numbing his feelings with illicit drugs, Lopez begins to close in on a sect that dins "Ishmael is great" several times too many. Eventually, the two investigations and two inspectors meet up and uncover a plot that’s enough to make a resolute paranoid scoff. Genna, perhaps under Hemingway’s spell, writes terse descriptions of physical actions, which in this case only adds to the general monotony. Like jets in a holding pattern, theplotlines drone on and on.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641971020
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • Publication date: 7/7/2004
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.20 (d)

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