Seymour, Gerald - 'The Collaborator'
Immacolata Borelli, an accountancy student in London, goes back to Naples to attend the funeral of her best friend Marianna Rosssetti. But her friend's parents spit at her, rip her clothes and verbally abuse her because Marianna has died of leukaemia caused by the toxic waste dumped on the fields around her home by trucks owned by the Borelli family, a Camorra clan.
"I know who you are, what nest of snakes spawned you…."
Immacolata Borelli is a daughter of a gangster family, she is a camorrista. The humiliation of this experience at the funeral is so great and she is so traumatized by the death of her friend that she decides to take an enormous step and become an informer and collaborator against her own family. Therefore she returns to London and makes a phone call to the prosecutor in the Palace of Justice in Naples.
"Castrolami is an officer of the ROS (Raggruppamento Operativo Speciale of the carabinieri) whom my father respected. You should send him. You hold my life, Dottore."
Mario Castrolami, Eddie Deacon, Immacolata's English boyfriend, officers Rossi and Orecchia, from the Servizio Centrale Protezione, Salvatore "Il Pistole", the clan's enforcer, and the lonely Lukas, an expert in hostage release, all become involved in a tense battle as the camorra clan is prepared to use any methods to silence the penita, Immacolata Borelli.
The author of THE COLLABORATOR, Gerald Seymour, spent fifteen years as an international television news reporter and has written twenty-four best selling novels, six of which have been filmed for television. This is the first of his books I have read and I admit to an initial feeling that a non-Italian would not be able to write about a very Italian subject with the clarity of a Sciascia, Carlotto, Lucarelli or Camilleri. Thankfully I wasn't put off, as I would then have missed an absolutely brilliant thriller, full of action, complex believable characters and a lot of information about the history of Naples and the rise of the Camorra. The dialogue, the procedures and the twists and turns in the narrative ring true, and the style of telling the story from different perspectives builds up the tension, as well as getting us inside the thoughts of the many interesting characters.
This is an exciting book that you will think has been written by an Italian, because Gerald Seymour takes you into the streets of Naples (Nea Polis, the New City) and you feel the fear of the Camorra.
Read another review of THE COLLABORATOR.
Norman Price, England