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Friday, 24 October 2014

‘When the Dead Awaken’ by Steffen Jacobsen

Published by Quercus,
3 October 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-78-87-629-0

An Italian crane driver in the pay of the Camorra is winching one of their ‘special’ containers onto a ship when his crane misfires and drops it on the quay below, spilling out the bodies of worn out Chinese workers and a number of black bags containing other victims of the Camorra.  Among them are a mother and son, the Forlanis.  Assistant Public Prosecutor Sabrina D’Avalos is given the investigation, and soon discovers there are links between the Forlani family and the unexplained aspects of her father’s assasination at the hands of the Camorra’s pet killer, Urs Savelli.

This book’s a winner on two counts – the feel of a Scandinavian noir with the enjoyment of a well-realised Italian background.  The book was inspired by a real-life account of the Camorra, one of Italy’s powerful secret societies. The action is constant, the sinister Camorra an ever-present adversary, and the ending satisfying, though more violent than I expected.  Sabrina is generally a likeable heroine, though more rash than is always plausible, and her alliance-shifting colleagues are well-drawn. 

A fast-moving thriller set in an interesting background.
Reviewer: Marsali Taylor

Steffen Jacobsen is an orthopaedic surgeon and consultant. This is his third novel. He was inspired to write When The Dead Awaken by Roberto Saviano’s non-fiction book Gomorrah, about the Camorra and by his travels around Italy. When The Dead Awaken is perfect for fans of The Killing, The Wire and The Godfather. Jacobsen’s bestseller Trophy has been number one in the Danish bestseller chart. He lives in Denmark with his wife and children.

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland's scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland's distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women's suffrage in Shetland. She's also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.  Marsali also does a regular monthly column for the Mystery People e-zine.

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