Created by Massimo Carlotto
“I spent a large part of my life hoping to see a happy multitude achieve their dreams. Instead, I find myself surrounded by legions of individuals who are dead inside, who are resigned to being robbed of their lives…So, in a world as cruel as this, you have to survive. Whatever the cost…It’s a matter of dignity.”
— Blues for Outlaw Hearts and Old Whores
MARCO BURATTI, better known as “The Alligator” (now there’s a name you can, uh, sink your teeth into) is a former blues singer and ex-con now working as a private eye in Venice, Italy, in a series of tough, hard-boiled crime novels by Massimo Carlotto. And rest assured that his partners in crime, so to speak, Beniamino Rossini and Max the Memory, are every bit as shady as The Alligator. In fact, they’re all ex-cons.
In The Colombian Mule, the first of the series to be translated into English, Alligator and his pals set out to defend an art smuggler from charges of drug smuggling — but a deranged gangster makes things difficult.
And so it goes. This is noir as nasty and European as a knife slid across the throat — with an occasional time out for a great meal. There’s a wonderful, intoxicating seediness to it all, and the pervasive corruption of Marco’s world–he has lots of friends in low place, and more than a few enemies on high–lingers in the air long after the final words.
Mind you, if he had his way, Buratti would rather sit in some dark, seedy nightclub sipping Calvados and listening to the blues. But something always seem to come up…
Massimo Carlotto has been called “the best living Italian crime novelist,” and he’s certainly seen the world of crime and punishment up close. According to his bio, he’s an ex-con himself — in 1976, Carlotto, at that time part of the Italian left-wing movement, discovered a woman bleeding from numerous stab wounds. In an ultimately futile attempt to save her, his clothes became stained with blood, and he was arrested for the woman’s murder. The cops didn’t buy his story, and just before the end of his appeal, his own lawyer advised him to run, thus beginning a long flight from the authorities that lasted several years and took him to to Paris and Mexico, where he was betrayed and turned in by another lawyer. He was arrested, tortured, and shipped back to Italy, where he was eventually sentenced to prison. In 1993, though, he was ultimately pardoned, and began writing.
The Alligator novels have been very successful in Italy and have recently been translated into French, German and now, English.
- “Carlotto’s novels are perfectly balanced, everything moves in the right, often unexpected direction. Sudden turns of events are interspersed with dialogue that recalls postwar American noir films… Somewhere up there Raymond Chandler is surely clapping.”
- “Packs plenty of plot into a slim volume, with space set aside for elaborate Northeast Italian meals, musings on women, and plenty of Calvados drinking.”
— The Daily Beast
- “Carlotto’s taut, broody Mediterranean noir is filled with blind corners and savage set pieces.”
–The New Yorker
- “The author continues to grapple with our contemporary versions of corruption and darkness. Yet he never loses sight of what people suffer because of the rot and threats around them, never gives up on the individuals who go through a lot and have their flaws but somehow manage to retain their humanity.”
— Scott Adlerberg on Blues for Outlaw Hearts and Old Whores (February 2020, Mystery Tribune)
- La verità dell’Alligatore (1995)
- Il mistero di Mangiabarche (1998)
- Nessuna cortesia all’uscita (1999)
- Il Corriere Colombiano (2000, aka “The Colombian Mule”) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Il maestro di nodi (2002; aka “The Master of Knots”) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- L’amore del bandito (2009; aka “Bandit Love) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- La banda degli amanti (2015; aka “Gang of Lovers”) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Per tutto l’oro del mondo (2016; aka “For All the Gold in the World”) | Buy this book | Kindle it!
- Blues per cuori fuorilegge e vecchie puttane (2017; aka “Blues for Outlaw Hearts and Old Whores”) | Buy this book | Kindle it!