The Piranhas

10 CDs. Macmillan Audio. Sept. 2018. 11:35 hrs.ISBN 9781427297037. $39.99. digital download. F
Nicholas, 15 years old, has wanted to be a crime boss since watching local gang members be treated like royalty. He begins his own career working with his friends for a local boss: selling drugs and committing armed robberies and the like. Nicholas quickly realizes that the only way to keep from being affected by the politics of those above him is to establish his own gang. As the stakes escalate for the boys, they intersperse their days with social media, Playstations, dating, and murder. Edoardo Ballerini, a fluent Italian speaker, handles the Napoli dialect with aplomb. The author's commentary on cyclical poverty and violence is obvious; he doesn't hold back with regard to recounting the grisly acts committed by children, which can be quite disturbing. While the pacing and plot hold listeners' interest, the story can be difficult to follow at times owing to the sprawling cast of characters who seem to be variations of the same three or four people. In addition, the novel lacks a single redeeming character, making it difficult to sympathize with anyone's plight.
VERDICT May be of interest to fans of Mario Puzo's The Godfather. ["Those who enjoy Mediterranean or Neapolitan noir (Sandrone Dazieri, Massimo Carlotto, Giancarlo de Cataldo) will feel right at home in a world where chaos and vulgarity reign": LJ 8/18 review of the Farrar hc.]
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