Thursday, July 4, 2013

AUGUST HEAT by Andrea Camilleri

Talk about an opening! Andrea Camilleri’s August Heat has one of the most memorable openings of any book I’ve ever read.

It has a memorable ending too.

Montalbano finds a young woman’s body in a trunk. The trunk is in a vacation home Montalbano and Livia have rented for friends.

The home is different. The contractor built it in such away as to spit in the faces of the building code inspectors.

More than that. The builder is Mafia-connected. It is dangerous to call him on any illegalities. His is the Sicilian way of doing business. Manipulation and illegality are just a part of business in Sicily.

Montalbano meets and falls for a beautiful young woman. The story revolves around their relationship. Montalbano learns a painful lesson.

There is nothing ordinary about Salvo Montalbano. In the August heat, he strips down to his underwear, sometimes even in his office. He is more off-the-wall than anybody I’ve ever known.

But I can believe such a character exists.

As a writer, I’ve always been interested in middles. Great stories sometimes have slower middles. Somewhere along the way, the author has to work out the details.

That happens in August Heat, but it doesn’t matter much. It is a fun book.

 Stephen Sartarelli translated this book.

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