"The Goodbye Kiss" by Massimo Carlotto

Another fine example of “Mediterranean Noir” by the master of the genre,Massimo Carlotto. “The Goodbye Kiss” is a short, powerful novel in which there are no characters at all that are sympathetic. It’s far from the typical “Good” vs “Bad”. They are all bad---evil, corrupt and without any redeeming social values. Makes for a very grim read, indeed.


Giorgio Pelligrini is a former left wing revolutionary who is wanted in Italy for a string of crimes connected to his revolutionary activities. He had run off to Central America in order to follow his “true believers” in the revolution there back in the 1970s. Being forced to kill a fellow Italian revolutionary and growing disillusioned with radicalism, revolution and just about everything else connected with it, he decides he’s going to go back to Italy to try to "redeem" himself, but that doesn’t mean that he has given up his criminal ways. Now he’s interested in getting money and living the high life and resorts to all sorts of horrible crimes, getting involved with Albanian and Kosovar militants, Spanish anarchists, former cell mates, crooked anti-terrorist cops and other sorted characters to plan an armored truck robbery. In the meantime, he befriends a lawyer who promises him that he can “redeem” himself by taking advantage of a law that allows the system to consider him “rehabilitated” if he knew how to play his cards right. It is a story about a man willing to go to any lengths in order to achieve the guise of “respectability” in a society that appears to have lost the values it once defended so fiercely.


This is “Noir” at it’s best and I think fans old school hardboiled crime novels and the films of Quentin Tarantino would love this book.

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