The Sacco Gang

Europa. Jul. 2018. 128p. tr. from Italian by Stephen Sartarelli. ISBN 9781609454234. pap. $14; ebk. ISBN 9781609454241. F
Camilleri, author of the internationally beloved, Sicily-set "Inspector Montalbano" series, here tells the story of the infamous Sacco Gang in this stand-alone historical. The Sacco family—primarily composed of brothers Vincenzo, Salvatore, Giovanni, Girolamo, and Alphonzo—has an unearned reputation for troublemaking, extortion, and murder. Their father built a successful farm on luck and hard work and as the sons expand his businesses, they run afoul of the local mafia. The family's socialist views also make them targets of an increasingly powerful Fascist Party in 1920s Italy. Taking on both the police and the mafia, they attempt to stand up for their own rights and the rights of their neighbors. Offering a straightforward and unromantic account of escalating violence in the Sicilian countryside, the author depicts the unrelenting terror of shoot-outs, ambushes, and assaults.
VERDICT Based on historical events, Camilleri's latest is not light reading for the armchair traveler, but instead a realistic representation of a region dominated by organized crime and a corrupt justice system in the first half of the 20th century.
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