After 22 years since the worldwide famous Salvo Montalbano was born from Andrea Camilleri's mind, Italy met Rocco Schiavone, and serious stuff is involved. A cynic in a dishonest world, sincere, without filters and loyal to his ethic and his rules.
Antonio Manzini, Rocco's creator, is a screenwriter and producer that created a new hero who has many spots on his shining armor.
The series of deputy prefect Rocco Schiavone begins in 2013 with the publication of the first title in a series of five books [of which only two have been translated into English by Harper Collins] who topped the Italian charts shoulder to shoulder with the great Camilleri.
Rocco is character outside the box which is so equally loved and hated by his readers. Grumpy, abusive, fair and damn good at his job.
35 years old, born in Trastevere, Rome's infamous suburb, among thieves and drug dealers, growing up he decided to follow his father will and join the guards but never really abandoning his roots and his friends, who instead, have become real bandits. While wearing a uniform Rocco takes justice alone, with unorthodox methods and a debatable moral. Creates and breaks his own rules and never draws back in front of easy money.
The book start with is transfer to Aosta, a city up in the Alps, away from his loved Rome, as a punishment for something he has done but that will still don't know. A cold city without sun and perpetual snow at 755 km from Rome. With his signature shoes, Clarks, facing the cold weather wrapped in his Loden coat that is totally useless against the freezing Aostan climate, Rocco begins his career with a half-buried corpse in the middle of a ski slope above Champoluc, in Val d'Aosta. The body unrecognizable, dismembered by a crawler used to clear the snow. Few hints around: tobacco crumbs, a strip of clothing and a macabre sign that this was not an accident but a murder. Three possible motives: the revenge of the mafia, debts, or a passion crime. Difficult to find the right one, given the unreliability of witnesses that in those narrow valleys are all related. Unpleasant from the very first pages, only at the end Rocco let us see a glimmer of what's inside his head when you begin to sense in his moments of silence so much pain and sadness buried underneath brusqueness and arrogance that are nothing but a shield. Here we see a brilliant man, an outstanding investigator and an attentive observer of the human soul, perhaps because of the criminals he grew with, Rocco is able to see through and understand things that others fail to grasp.
Accompanied by his faithful Italo, surrounded by the morons and clumsy ( but hilarious) constables Deruta and Dintino and the beautiful Caterina, Rocco invites us into his world where the line between right and wrong and very thin, where the day always starts with "the morning pagan prey ": a joint to relax the nerves, strictly smoked in his office at police headquarters. Thanks to which Rocco Schiavone series got a special mention in the Italian Parliament where several politicians requested to ban the TV show inspired by the books as considered outrageous and disrespectful towards police.
Of course, the show went on and Rocco, the sad policeman, is still out there.
A MUST read!