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Judgement Days (I Giorni Del Giudizio)

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Original Language: Italian | 273 pp. | September 2019

2 Seas Represents: Dutch rights.

English sample available

#7 on the Bestsellers List

NOIR | THRILLER

On the farm of Falconaia, north of Lucca, in Tuscany, Esther Bonarrigo, wife of Daniel Bonarrigo, the wealthy owner of a chain of Italian restaurants with branches all over the world, is brutally murdered.

A knife to the throat, precise and deadly like an execution. Her husband is the one who finds her body in the so-called Faun’s Cave. The same night, not far from there, a second body is found, that of Jacopo Corti, a thirty-one year old restorer, who had, until a few months earlier, been working at Falconaia.

The case stuns the city of Lucca: many people criticise the couple’s wealth, others gossip about their seemingly perfect marriage. The notion of a robbery is soon overtaken by the theory of a crime of passion, and Daniel Bonarrigo is investigated for double murder. When the trial comes around, they decide to convene a popular jury: six ordinary citizens, chosen at random. But who are these “normal people”, to judge someone like this?

Six people like us, six people who are profoundly different from each other find themselves discussing a case that intimidates them and makes them feel responsible. The six are: Serena, a deeply insecure girl, a simple maid, who would rather disappear than appear in court; Emma, the owner of a fashion store in Viareggio, who wanted to be an actress when she was young and now, together with her partner Paolo, is conspiring to have Bonarrigo acquitted and buy his business at a knock-down price; Malcolm, always absent and aloof, who does nothing but write on his phone, even in moments of high tension; Terenzio, the controversial figure in the group, so adamant about the defendant’s guilt that he is constantly on the verge of blowing up, but who gradually becomes Serena’s friend; the enigmatic Iris, in possession of a file that casts a dark light on Terenzio’s past; Giovanna Landi, always stressed and rubbing her handkerchief across her forehead to wipe away the nervous sweat; and Ahmed, the Muslim who is generally given the cold shoulder.

Between them, they develop understandings, antipathies, alliances and attractions. But what will happen to the way they perceive justice, to their consciences, and above all to their lives, having to pass judgement on a controversial case that everyone is talking about?

With his precise, realistic writing, Giampaolo Simi plunges us into the vortex of a much-debated case, describing it from the jurors’ perspective. He gets us personally involved and urges us to ask ourselves what we would have done, had we found ourselves in the shoes of those six citizens. Twists and turns draw us into an increasingly precarious spiral of tension. The novel takes place during the days of the comic book festival, while the streets are invaded by masks, and people dressed as monsters, in a Lucca wonderfully described with the details of the day-to-day life of a small city.