Acqua Morta: Adam Bane
Creating a plot for a suspense novel requires creativity, ingenuity and the ability to draw readers into your story from the first word on the first page. But, this particular novel is unique unto itself as it is not only plot driven but the author has created scenes that he vividly and graphically depicts, characters and descriptions that allows readers to mentally picture the character in his/her mind and recreating events that make you feel that you are taking part in the action along with the characters. Added in he allows readers to feel every emotion, every physical change, every weather related feeling that would cause the character to have some type of stress or discomfort. Plus any physical disability that would hamper that character is described.
Taking a “ deep breath before turning to face the man who would replace him as head of Squadra Mobile, Sezione, III,” the Murder Squad, Commissoario Domenico Martelli, along with his friend Nardi, would witness a murder scene so horrific that many would turn away from in horror. Sometimes people are forced to retire for health reasons or because some companies feel they are too old for their position. But, Martelli might have a physical condition forcing him to retire but nothing will stop him from completing this investigation in his own way. What the author describes will make the feint of heart turn away but those that have that investigative bug, will want to know more. Coming upon the scene and relating what needs to be done, Martelli and Rubini his replacement spar and only one’s words and actions will win. Philippe Lelord, the ME and pathologist along with Nardi describes on pages 15-16 what would appear to be a man who was severely burned all over with acid while alive. The full description readers can read on page 16, which graphically describes the condition of the body and the assessment made by the Lelord. Lelord or the Frenchman as he is called plus Nardi and his office, Bracco, look at the horrific remains of a half human being. Although this is to be his last day and last case he did not shirk his duties and ventured to see the kill site. Within the story we hear both his voice and that of Rubini who tries at every stop to countermand all of his orders and treat him as a has been. The setting is the Ligurian countryside and the conflicts that take place are many. Rubini allows readers to get to know him from the start and you come away with the feeling that he is not there to solve a crime but for political gain. His methods are poor and his demeanor crass. Imagine coming upon a man whose hands were tied with wire and placed within a huge barrel while the killer pours sulphuric acid o on your slowly making sure that his death was slow and painful. Added in the demented killer punched holes into the barrel so that victim could breathe and not die so fast. What was left would turn your stomach.
The story takes off in many directions from this point as Martelli begins to realize that there is much more to this murder and for some reason after the victim is identified a man claiming to be his brother hires him to find his killer. Hoping that he will take the case privately Paul Finch wants to pay him for his services. But, something about his demeanor changes each time they meet causing red flags to go up and Martelli refusing to be paid.
Detective Ted Logan is also working the case and discovers in a gym six hundred miles away a bag stuffed with hundreds of thousands of euros in a holdall. However, within this story there are several subplots as the daughter of a dear friend relates a problem that Martelli agrees to handle. What happens when your own brother scams you and you wind up in debt to the wrong people that want to take away all that you own. With his old friend and breakfast partner Nardi they assess the situation, talk about what they think occurred and then will learn that this case is anything but cut and dry.
Ted Logan is investigating the fact that a body was washed up in a boat belonging to a man named Warren Devlin. Where was he, what happened to him and was he really dead?
Trying to learn more about the case Martelli finds Bracco hoping to find out more about the family of this man who is dead, realizing that he is no longer with the Murder Squad and that the details of this case are confidential. Steven Finch is said to be the murder victim and Mario Rosetti his partner in a small boat charter company that takes people fishing, teaching them sailing and takes people a day trips. But, Mario seems to be missing and although they eventually learn where he might be he is never there. As the investigation continues he learns about a young girl named Angela that has a link to Mario and from this point on things get dangerous not only for Mimmo Martelli but for others too. Paul Finch wants to hire him to investigate the death of his brother and has appeared to identify the body. But, Rubini is lax and certain information is not asked for and what happens and is finally revealed lets readers know that he just might be the wrong person for the job and forcing Martelli to retire a mistake.
The relationships among the characters blend as we learn more about Angela her ties to Mario and we meet Estella who seems to be embroiled within this maze as well. Focusing on finding out who was really killed, what really happened to Paul Finch, Mario and one other man involved we learn that what was carried on the boat was nuclear and the man killed was filled with radiation poisoning making it seem that both he and someone else were planning a terrorist attack. Each scene is preceded by visions of mountains, cafes serving delicious treats and vividly described figures whose physical appearances change throughout the novel. Estella was tough and when Martelli questioned a man named Tomasz heavily involved with Mario, he brings to light information about Steven and Paul.
Angela stated that Mario would never kill anyone but nor did she seemed concerned about her son when her sister came to collect him. Which brought Martelli back to the fact that he needed to deal with his friend Aldo and his financial situation. But, first his old friend Piero and breakfast and of course a tirade for blowing him off.
While Mimmo was handling this Ted Logan was gazing or looking at cash from Warren Devlin’s locker at the boxing club. The amount found outstanding and other items included clothes. However, on a plastic tray was something that just might lead him to find the one person or place he needed to solve this case. As Mimmo comes back to reality and relates that Arico wanted Aldo’s house because it was sitting on a “prime plot at the eastern end of the lungomare. But, when Antonio came to be involved in this scam and her realized that his brother was ripped off, this was the worst offense ever possible. What will happen to Aldo and will Martelli keep his word and save his house? Arico is a dangerous man and just how will he get around his cruelty and what he did?
Warned by Nardi that the end result would be dangerous and wrong, will he listen? But, within this story there is one breath of fresh air as we meet Cristina who centers Martelli and is able to deal with his moves, desires and disappointments in a beautiful way. But, when Rubini catches wind of what Martelli is doing in order to embarrass the ex-chief he pulls rank and has him arrested.
The link just might be Estella Ramazotti who from appearances looks to be over 30. The description on page 229 describes her as someone with a cold sore on her top lie, “Directly under her nose, had scabbed over.” He appearance appears as is stated: Scruffy. Leading her through his questions we learn that she feels that Steven was the brains behind what was going on and the fishing trips and cleaning pools was great until Steven came along. This triggered him to think about whether acid was used when cleaning. Add in Rebecca King who is Warren’s girlfriend and we hear her speaking with Logan and DC Burns and learn much about what might have happened to Warren.. The plot gets more involved and intricate as the places change from South East London, the Ligurian region of Italy and a boxing clue and even Castelvecchio di Rocca.
Mimmo Martelli is not a straightforward character. He loves to drink, take dangerous chances and at times you begin to wonder if he has a slight death wish. As the pieces of each part of the plot blend together the ending will astound, surprise and provide a twist that no one sees coming not even the Mimmo. More bodies are found, answers are not forthcoming, Paul, Warren, Steven, Mario, Estella, and Angela: Who is guilty? Who is caught in the web of lies and who will come out ahead?
Mimmo Martelli finds himself in grave danger when facing a killer. Will he prevail? Will the author bring this colorful character and his two friends Lelord and Nardi back again? What about Bracco? : Many deaths. Many bodies each subjected to a killer’s way of inflicting: Acqua Morta: Liquid Death
Fran Lewis: Just reviews