Friday, August 22, 2014

Fast: "The Ballad of Mila" by Matteo Strukul

Fast: The Ballad of Mila by Matteo Strrukul, 2014, 9781909223738.  English edition translated by Marco Piva-Dittrich and Allan Guthrie.  Does Guthrie know Italian or did he work on stuff like colloquialisms?

Strukul wrote that he really likes fast, pulp-style stories and this one moves quick with a straightforward revenge story.  Set in Northern Italy.  Mila was raised by her policeman father until she was 14 (or so).  Mila and her father were in a restaurant when mobsters murdered her father, kidnapped Mila, and then gang raped Mila.  Mila was then raised by her grandparents.  Mila's grandfather trained her hard physically with martial arts and endurance training plus time at shooting ranges.

Chinese mobsters have started to move in and take over different parts of the illegal economy.  They are clashing with the Italian mob.  Mila inserts herself after an Italian guy hired by the Chinese murders a couple Italian mob accountants.  Mila kung-fus the killer.  Mila takes two million Euros in cash.  Mila is followed by a Chinese mobster overseeing the killings.  Mila kills two Chinese killers who come to kill her and she captures the third.

Mila uses the money and kidnapped Chinese mobster to force partnership with the local Italian mob.  The same mob that murdered her father and raped her.  Mila plans to kill the Italians and take the Chinese down on the way.  There is plenty o violence, plenty of scheming.  Not so many twists and turns - this is pretty straightforward and fast moving and things go quite well for Mila.  She is able to talk, punch, stab, or shoot her way out of problems.

Fun stuff.  At the end Mila applied to join a private society of bounty hunters and killers who fight organized crime in Europe and is off to join them for the sequel.

1. Foreword by Victor Gischler.  I did read that.
2.  Long interview at the end with Strukul and some other guy about books and writing.  I read a few pages of that and bailed.  I did quickly skim the rest of the interview which says Strukul is doing a trilogy.  Actually, the trilogy is probably done since the original Italian of this novel published in 2011.

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