Star Rating: ***
Pages: 356 (e-reader format)
First published by Scribe in 2014
Scamarcio is a talented detective with the Roma flying squad but has a tainted past thanks to his father. Being the son of a Mafia grandiose would be difficult for anyone; following in the footsteps of someone so successful whether on the right side of the law or not would be hard, but it must be almost impossible to carve a career within an already corrupt police force when you come from such an influential family. Scamarcio however, is trying.
After receiving some bad publicity and having his motives questions, Scamarcio is forced to work undercover on a particularly difficult case in the hope that he will stay under the radar for a while. With some high-standing, senior officials involved, he is unsure whether this particular assignment will make or break him but it would appear he has little choice in the matter. His boss, Garramone is being cagey about where he received his information from, making it unclear whether he is setting Scamarcio up to fail.
Meeting in secret, Garromone and Scamarcio discuss the disturbing information that has been handed to them. It would appear that the Foreign Secretary, a well-respected family man, has been compromised; caught on camera at a party with a couple of male escorts. Making matters even worse, one of these male escorts has just been reported dead, murdered in cold blood in his own home. Sent to investigate, but being warned not to attract unnecessary attention to the incident, Scamarcio enters the apartment in the hope that the district police force will pass it off as just another escort tragedy that they won’t be able to solve, making it yet another cold case to add to the pile.
The horrific scene is one of real concern. Why has this young lad, Arthur, been killed is such a vicious attack? Is it purely coincidental or is this related to the Foreign Secretary and his political friends?
Not one to believe in coincident, Scamarcio knows that this is more than a disgruntled customer taking revenge and he spends the next few days trying to contact friends and other escorts in an attempt to find out more about this young man.
Soon his research, and an anonymous tip, takes him away from Roma, to the small island of Elba and the case of a missing American girl. Stacey Baker, was holidaying with her parents when, during a trip to the beach she seems to have disappeared with no-one knowing where she has gone. With the language skills of the island’s police lacking, no real statements have been taken and no further knowledge gained.
Frustrated and knowing that time is of the essence, Scamarcio, takes it upon himself to re-interview the Bakers to find out exactly what did happen on that sunny day. Were the parents as attentive as they say? Was someone else lurking that they should know about? Did anyone see anything that may help find this little girl before it is too late?
It is only after speaking to both Mr and Mrs Baker that Scamarcio realises that there is something amiss with their stories. Neither parent, it would appear, had kept an eye on their child and therefore could not provide any information that would be helpful to the investigation.
Then, without justification, a vicious man, locked away years ago for the crimes he committed, contacts Scamarcio and provides him with insights which could help to reveal the location of the little girl. Nervous, but with no other leads, he pursues this line of inquiry which only results in more deaths coming to light.
After un-nerving the various communities on Elba and annoying the disgruntled chief-of-police, Scamarico ends up leaving the island with more questions than answers, returning to the mainland to pursue other leads.
Chasing corrupt police officers across the country to Naples, Scamarico finally lands his first bit of good luck through an unlikely source – a supplier heavily involved in the escort parties.
With the promise of protection, Zaccardo, the supplier, goes on to explain what sort of parties this exclusive group of people particularly enjoyed. Worryingly, it transpires that this heavy-hitting group of politicians and senior leaders were not only interested in male escorts, some also had a penchant for young children, preferably of the blonde, blue-eyed kind. Perhaps all of these cases are more entwined than it first appeared.
Will Scamarico succeed in find the girl? Will he be able to put a stop to the parties arrange for this exclusive group known as ‘The Few’? Will his own past come back to haunt him?
Final Thoughts on Nadia’s First Novel
‘The Few’ is a well-written narrative based solely on fictional characters although, whilst reading it, you could actually imagine it happening not only in Italy but in many countries around the world. It is a powerful story involving topics that many authors would stay away from knowing that certain feelings will be evoked in the reader and whilst there are no graphic descriptions held within the narrative there are themes that some readers would potentially find upsetting – child kidnapping, for example.
This is the first of what I believe is to be a series of novels by Nadia and therefore, whilst there is somewhat of a conclusion to this particular chapter in Scamarico’s career, the ending does not provide all answers meaning that, should you want to know what happens next, you are going to have to wait for the second instalment.
Interested in finding out more about Nadia. Then click here to read our recent interview with the author.
Disclaimer: I did receive a free copy of ‘The Few’ to read and review but all thoughts and comments are my own.