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I Won’t Hurt You (Non ti faccio niente)

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Original Language: Italian | 420 pp. | June 2017

2 Seas Represents: World English, French, Dutch, Nordic and Portuguese rights.

Under Option: France

English sample available.

THRILLER

He’d got into the monster’s car because he’d told him that sooner or later the bogeyman would come and take him away. And it didn’t matter much if this monster wasn’t big and strong with a beard like Mangiafuoco’s but a thin boy almost the same size as him, with a rather shapeless red T-shirt and jeans that hung low on his hips. He was convinced he deserved to be taken away, and probably eaten alive, too, he expected nothing more.

It’s 1983, and little Remo has spent most of his young life on his own, his parents always too busy to be with him. So when a mysterious stranger pulls up and asks Remo to help him take care of his baby sparrow, the kid doesn’t hesitate for a moment. Growing up in the streets, there’s no such thing as a stranger. Remo spends three whole days in the company of the man; back home safe and happy, recounting the experience ecstatically, he tells of the presents, and the attentions, which he’d never gotten from any other adult ever before. But Remo’s not the first one, nor is will he be the last. Thirty-two children over the course of sixteen years told similar stories of a blond man with a blue car. All of them disappear for three days, and go back to their families unharmed, telling stories of a man who does all he can to make their dreams come true. When the police start to investigate these momentary kidnappings, the man disappears.

2015. Greta’s dad has never been late picking her up. But the dismay in her teacher’s eyes tells him that something’s wrong, because Greta hasn’t even set foot in school that day. This is how Remo Polimanti’s daughter disappears, just as he had thirty years previously. She, too, is returned to her family, but lifeless. Greta is just the first step on a blood-soaked path connecting the children of those who had been kidnapped years before. But why has the “good” kidnapper turned into a murderer? Or is someone copying him, perhaps? Or challenging him? Or punishing him?

In a disturbing and tormented dance of light and shadows, Paola Barbato leads us into the depths of our greatest fears, making old, unhealed wounds bleed again.

 

Paola Barbato was born and bred in Milan in 1971, adopted by Brescia, on loan to Verona, where she lives with her companion, three daughters and three dogs. A novelist and scriptwriter for comic strips, amongst which Dylan Dog, she has published three thrillers for Rizzoli: Bilico, Mani nude (winner of the Scerbanenco award), Il filo rosso. For Filmmaster, she wrote the plot for the fiction Nel nome del male with Fabricio Bentivoglio, directed by Alex Infascelli, which she also co-scripted. In September she published the novel Non ti faccio niente (I won’t hurt you), on Wattpad, gaining great popularity with users.