Saturday, December 31, 2011

Finished: "The Collaborator" by Gerald Seymour

Finished: The Collaborator by Gerald Seymour, 2009, 9781590204467.

Last finished book of the year unless I hide in some room during the upcoming New Years party and finish an audiobook. I thought this came out in 2011 or 2010. Another solid book by Seymour and long at 474 pages. Seymour needed all those pages to cover the many characters.

Eddie is a twenty-something underachiever and all-around average guy in London. While buzzed after lunch time beer and summer heat he meets and speaks to an Italian girl on a park bench. The girl asks him to clarify an English word's meaning. Eddie happens to be a a language teacher. They hit it off.

The girl is Immacollota and she is quite secretive. They spend lots of time together with plenty of sex. But, only at his place and Imm never tells him her phone or home. Immocolatta was born into a crime family in Naples. An unloving and ruthless crime family. All of Naples seems to be unloving and ruthless. The whole damn town is run by different crime families of massive wealth. None of the families much care for money - they can never freely go in public to spend it - they care for power and fear.

Imm learns her best and only friend has died. She secretly flies to Italy for funeral. The family assaults and spits on her. The daughter died of poisoning from the illegal toxic dumping her family made a fortune off of. Imm is shamed. Imm decides to turn sides and testify. The decision is not hard. There is no love in her family. That is born out after her family are arrested and dream of slitting her throat with a dull blade.

Imm skips out of London to turn evidence. Imm is a snot whose every wish has been accepted by a fearful public. She does not adjust well to protective custody. Eddie decides to quit his job and search for the suddenly missing Imm. Eddie flies to Naples. Innocent Eddie does not know Imm is a collaborator. Eddie is kidnapped to exert leverage on Imm.

Many more things happen. The Italian investigator and prosecutor have to learn if Imm will stick with it. They have to worry about the torture and death threats on Eddie. Imm's minders have to deal with her lousy behavior. An expert hostage negotiator has to work with the Italians. The grandparents who started the criminal family have to take over again when kids and grand-kids go in jail. Vicious criminals. Heartless criminals. A hitman who only feels emotion at the instant of a victim's death.

1. Recurring theme: SWAT guys who like to read about fancy new equipment.
2.This false issue of respect. The confusion [in my mind] of the Italians, and people in the U.S., that they are not given proper respect. They don't want respect, they want fear. They want groveling and begging. They want the power of life and death. Fear is not respect.
3. Never go to Naples.
4. The seeming futility of investigating and prosecuting a family when the many competing families just swoop in and take the territory.

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