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The Piranhas: The Boy Bosses of Naples by Roberto Saviano & Antony Shugaar (Translator), Farrar, Straus and Giroux, US $27.00, Pp 350, September 2018, ISBN 978-0374230029

Timeless by R. A. Salvatore, Harper Voyager/HarperCollins Publishers, US $27.99, Pp 400, September 2018, ISBN 978-0062688590

Leave No Trace by Mindy Mejia, Atria/Emily Bestler Books, US $26.00, Pp 322, September 2018, ISBN 978-1501177361

The Piranhas is set in Naples, the home city of Roberto Saviano who tells the story of gang warfare and of Nicolas Fiorillo — a smart, hardworking and ambitious fifteen-year-old from the slums of Naples — who wants to rule Naples’s underworld. The Piranhas’s theme is similar to his earlier novel, Gomorrah, in which Roberto Saviano revealed a true and spine-chilling portrait of Naples, Italy, under the rule of the Camorra, a crime organization more powerful and violent than the Italian Mafia. Nicolas Fiorillo is eager to make his mark and to acquire power and the money that comes with it. Nicolas Fiorillo and his nine friends create a new paranza, or gang. They roam the streets of Naples on their motor-scooters in order to learn from the networks of small-time hoodlums that controls drug-dealing and petty crime in the city. They cheat and steal, and learn to shoot semiautomatic weapons such as AK-47s. Slowly, they take control of the neighborhoods, and the rival groups choose to join Nicolas Fiorillo or are pushed to the margins of the city. As the rival gangs are overwhelmed, they choose to make an alliance with Nicolas Fiorillo’s gang. With Nicolas’s prodigious strategic brilliance, Nicolas Fiorillo and his gang rise on the crime scene and cause unimaginable death and destruction. The Piranhas has everything Gomorrah had such as lurid glamour of Nicolas’s story with all the vividness and insight into the psychology of crime and violence. The Piranhas is a spine-chilling portrait of Naples’ underworld. Roberto Saviano takes the readers right in the middle of the world of crime where they learn how the underworld works. It is a world of drug dealers who do not hesitate to kill in order to safeguard their business and strike terror in the hearts of people and their rivals. The only language they speak and understand is the language of violence. Those who love crime stories will highly enjoy this true blood-curdling true crime story. It is probably the best crime story of the year.

Roberto Saviano is an Italian novelist journalist, writer, and essayist. He is the author of international bestsellers Gomorrah and ZeroZeroZero. In his writings, he tells about the economic reality of the territory and business of the Camorra and of organized crime. Since 2006, he has lived under police protection after the first death threats made by the Casalese clan, a cartel of the Camorra, which he denounced in his exposé and in the piazza of Casal di Principe during a demonstration in defense of legality.

*****

Set in the Forgotten Realms, in Timeless, bestselling author R. A. Salvatore returns with one of the most amazing and enduring fantasy characters, the dark elf Drizzt Do’Urden. Many centuries ago, there lived in the Underdark city of Menzoberranzan a young weapon master named Zaknafein who had earned a great reputation. Menzoberranzan — the City of Spiders, the city of drow — was located deep in the unmerciful Underdark of Toril. R. A. Salvatore created the character of Drizzt Do’Urden thirty years ago. Today, the dark elf has come to be an icon in the fantasy genre. The greater nobles envied Zaknafein while powerful Matron — Malice — vowed to take him as her own. She unsuccessfully conspired with noble houses to secure him. When all attempts failed, the roguish Jarlaxle stepped in and managed to catch him. This was how the coupling of a noblewoman and weapon master — the parents of Drizzt Do’Urden — led to the friendship between Zaknafein and Jarlaxle. This is the beginning of the modern-day Forgotten Realms. Zaknafein now has to reconcile his old prejudices with the new world of his son and his son’s companions. But how will he do it? Will he succeed? The father and son desire peace. They vow to keep the scourge of the goddess Lolth’s ambitions and her dark will at bay. But how does the Spider Queen plan to act when the demons have also been unleashed on the unwitting denizens of the surface world. Zaknafein and Drizzt can do it if they put aside their differences in order to keep the world safe. As Zaknafein and Drizzt remain united, Jarlaxle will play his own role. Packed with fighting, intrigue, suspense and thrills, Timeless is the first novel in a new fantasy trilogy. It is a compulsively readable fantasy novel. Readers of fantasy novels will simply rejoice.

His novels’ series include the Forgotten Realms, the Crimson Shadow, and the DemonWars Saga. R. A. Salvatore has sold more than thirty million copies of his books worldwide and has appeared on the New York Times bestseller list more than two dozen times. He considers writing to be his personal journey, but still, he’s quite pleased that so many are walking the road beside him! R.A. Salvatore lives in Massachusetts with his wife, Diane, and their three dogs. He still plays softball for his team, Clan Battlehammer, and enjoys his weekly DemonWars: Reformation RPG game. Salvatore can be found at RASalvaStore.com

*****

Set in Minnesota, a young psychiatrist with a troubled past helps a patient who has a near identical past. The Boundary Waters with glacial lakes and untouched forests is spread over hundreds of miles in northern Minnesota. The outer boundary of the Boundary Waters has a lot of spaces for family campsites. Ten years ago, Josiah and his 19-year-old son Lucas Blackthorn disappeared in the wilderness while they were camping there. Search teams found their ravaged campsite. They concluded that it had been attacked by a bear and both father and son have died. Over the next ten years, people forgot about them. The memory of father-son duo was revived when they discover after ten years that the young man they caught ransacking an outfitter store is Lucas. Lucas is violent and uncommunicable and seems to have a lot of behavioral issues. They decide to send him to Congdon Psychiatric Facility where 23-year-old psychiatrist therapist Maya Stark is charged with treating him. Because of her past, Maya Stark immediately makes a connection with her new patient. Maya is still haunted by her past. She is reminded of the days when she was herself a patient at the Congdon Psychiatric Facility. Maya’s mother, Jane, had tried to commit suicide before disappearing. After losing her mother, Maya made a series of bad decisions that led to a lot of violence and she ended up in Congdon Psychiatric Facility. Over time, she managed to get herself together and get a degree. She is trying to rebuild her relationship with her father. Lucas is a difficult patient who refuses to – or, is unable to — answer about his father and where they were all those ten years. The similar past draws her closer to Lucas. She vows to reunite him with his father whose whereabouts are still not known. Maya has an exceptional ability to endure which makes Lucas slowly to respond to Maya and, one day, Lucas tells her that his father is still alive but in danger. She is ready to do everything to get them back together. Leave No Trace is packed with suspense with memorable and well-chiseled characters. It is a dark thriller that may bring tears to your eyes. The utterly heart-breaking story will keep your eyes glued to the pages.

Mindy Mejia did her MFA from Hamline University. Her debut novel, The Dragon Keeper, was published in 2012. The granddaughter of Minnesota farmers, she lives in the Twin Cities with her husband and two children. She is the author of Everything You Want Me to Be.

*****

 

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