Rigosi, Giampiero - 'Night Bus' (translated by Ann Goldstein)
Francesco is a bus driver and gambling addict. Leila is a hustler, picking up men in night-clubs and robbing them. Francesco is having big problems with Bear, a debt collector who doesn't have that nickname for no reason. Leila gets more than she bargains for when she finds the key to a locker on a man she's in the process of robbing.
Following that key to the associated locker finds Leila involved in something much bigger than she could have expected. Francesco and Leila find allies in each other as Leila unexpectedly turns up on Francesco's bus late one night and in big trouble over the key, but able to help when Francesco comes face to face with Bear.
There is a lot happening in NIGHT BUS. There are a lot of people coming in and out of the story and there's a lot at stake for all of the players. Right to the end the story is intertwining and twisting around Francesco and Leila and the activities that Leila has accidentally exposed with the theft of the key. The pace really keeps moving and there is a sense of irony and fun in the storytelling that makes this an intriguing book.
There is also a deftness to the character portrayal which was a joy. All of the "villains" are different, quirky, human. The heroes are accidental ones. The ones that do something daft in the first place and have to dig like crazy to get themselves out of their own crater.
Ultimately you'd have to call this a caper novel, a real pleasure - thoroughly recommended.
Karen Chisholm, Australia
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.