copertina Nasty Omens

Alessandra Pepino

A great reason to read an Italian novel.
Crime and passion in the crazy, complicated city of Naples.

June 2013: rain's coming down in torrents over a city - Naples - that is never named but whose identity is never in any doubt as the story unfolds.  A blackout lends a hand in two bloody crimes committed in the same block of flats. First,  Cesare Melchionna, a famous writer with a debilitating case of writer's block, happens upon the strangled and brutally beaten body of his very fetching neighbour, Benedetta Fierro, hidden haphazardly amid the plants in the garden.  A few minutes later, a bullet enters the head of Ignazio Botta, a civil engineer and raging misanthrope who lives on the first floor.  Called to solve the two apparently unconnected crimes, is Jacopo Guerra, a surly detective inspector who, despite his gruff demeanour, is unable to avoid being emotionally hooked by the unfolding events. The official investigation progresses in parallel with a secret one being conducted by Costanza, Benedetta's sister, until that point trapped inside her home by an extreme form of agoraphobia, but who finds strength in her pain to face her fears and track down her sister's killer. What fine thread ties the two victims together?  What does the homeless guy who had dinner with Ignazio on the  night of his death have to do with it all?   The investigation winds its way through an intricate web of false trails and spurious leads until it hits against the most bitter truth of all.   

"Rain. Seclusion. And a tower block inhabited by phobias, darkness and pain, hidden behind polite smiles and empty faces. A place which should bring security and comfort, turns out to be hell on earth. This novel takes Italian crime fiction into murky new places, with a sparse, gripping prose that explores the dance of death in a building that could just as easily be your home or mine."
Maurizio de Giovanni, author of the Superintendent Ricciardi series

Alessandra Pepino is thirty years old and lives in Naples. She graduated in Communication,  specializing in Entertainment and Media Science. As present, she splits her time between running her own business and her first love, writing, where she has a natural affinity for noir and crime fiction, but is equally drawn to other genres, notable amongst which is a love of comedy. Nasty Omens (original title: Cattivi Presagi) is her first novel.  

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