Giorgio Faletti is a man clearly not content with one career; over the years, he has been a lawyer, a TV comedian, a film actor and a singer/songwriter — what’s more, he has enjoyed some considerable success at each of these disparate careers. But he is likely to become best-known in the UK for his blockbuster thriller, I Kill, which has already sold over 5 million copies worldwide before its UK appearance in translation. While much Italian crime fiction is deliberately parochial, Faletti paints his exuberant narrative on the largest of canvases, and the template here is very much grand-scale, international thriller writing as practised by several top American and British writers, and Faletti knows exactly what he’s doing. The setting is Monte Carlo, both a playground of the rich and a bolthole for the criminally inclined. In I Kill, the more upscale residents are being targeted by an implacable serial killer who calls himself No One (shades of Ulysses in Homer’s Odyssey). He Inveigles a reluctant radio talk-show host into allowing him to announce each killing (set against a soundtrack that indicates who the next victim will be). And at the scene of each crime are the words ‘I Kill’, scrawled in the victim’s blood. The murderer’s nemesis is FBI agent Frank Ottobre, struggling to come to terms with the death of his wife, and Police Commissioner Nicholas Hulot. Both men have their work cut out for them, as ‘No One’ continues to cut a bloody swathe through his victims, seemingly unstoppable.

Faletti is well aware of the imperatives of the blockbuster thriller, and all the requisite buttons are pushed here. The book is long — over 500 pages — but the tension is maintained throughout with genuine skill.

I Kill is published by Corsair

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