"I Want To Watch" by Diego De Silva

This is the second novel from Italian author Diego De Silva that I’ve read and as far as I know, this is the only other one available in English. De Silva is one of the more promising contemporary Italian novelists to emerge in the past decade or so. This novel is an earlier effort from “I Hadn’t Understood” and this one is also a bit more “conventional” in its approach, although the story itself is far from conventional. 
 
There are echoes of Bret Easton Ellis’s “American Psycho”, a psychological thriller that keeps you turning the pages keeping the reader on the edge of their seat wondering how it’s all going to play out. The story begins with the brutal slaying of a little girl. The murderer then goes through a meticulous routine in preparing the body, even signing his name, before he’s ready to dispose of it. He puts his victim in a duffle bag and carries it down to the beach, eventually disposing it beneath a docked boat before casually going home and getting on with his life. 

The narrative then switches to a 16 year old girl named Celeste, who spends her free time as a prostitute along the very beach in which the murderer had dumped the body. We are then introduced to a criminal defense lawyer named David Heller. Young, successful, a little arrogant, something of a Yuppie. We are guided through his world and his relationship with a young magistrate named Elena (she wants him, he pays no mind to her) and it is here that we begin to suspect that something is a little “off” about our defense attorney. After spending the afternoon with Elena, he goes home to find, much to his surprise, an envelope in his mailbox containing a torn scrap of the duffle bag. We now know that our defense attorney is the murderer of the little girl.  
 
Meanwhile, Celeste has been keeping an eye on him, following him around the neighborhood, watching him in court and eventually turns up at his apartment; and thus begins a cat and mouse game that puts the young lawyer on edge. What did she see? Why is she doing this? Is she trying to blackmail him? Why didn’t she just go to the police? What are her motives? Celeste and Heller begin to form a very weird bond, a bond that begins to unravel Heller's mental state even further. It is through this bond where the story takes a turn that the reader will never see coming and my suggestion is to seek out this book to see how it all turns out. 

My only criticism of the story is that we are never quite sure what motivates Heller. All we can assume from the beginning is that he is a psychopath hidden in plain sight; a normal looking professional - in the criminal justice system, no less - and perhaps that is part of the point of this story. When you consider Celeste's ultimate motivation for her cat and mouse game with Heller, perhaps the whole point is one never truly knows what motivates people to do the things they do. 
 
The prose is stripped bare & raw, lending itself to the very disturbing story being told here. A transgressive, dark, and suspenseful read.   
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