In an elegant apartment in a chilly Alpine town a cleaning lady makes a gruesome discovery: the body of her employer hanging from a chandelier in a dark room in an apparent suicide.
Working the case is Deputy Police Chief Rocco Schiavone, banished from his beloved Rome to snowy, small-town Aosta. An incurable cynic, perpetually at war with the world – and the weather – Rocco is unconvinced that Esther killed herself.
Armed with his intuition and his inimitable brand of morality, he begins to hunt for a killer. But as he digs deeper into Esther’s life Rocco is increasingly troubled by personal matters: his dissatisfied girlfriend Nora; the very vocal memory of his deceased wife, Marina; and a score that still needs settling back in Rome.
Small towns can hide big secrets, but Rocco will do whatever it takes to bring them into the light.
Reviews of A Cold Death
Praise for Black Run:
‘At last a detective who’s not haunted by personal demons or soaked in booze, a man who may not be entirely honest – indeed, you could call him corrupt as well as adulterous – but who glories in his job of solving crimes. He’s a coarse, violent and engaging policeman who would not be out of place in a James Ellroy masterpiece. The tale is deftly told with sharp, cynical dialogue. Let’s hear more of Schiavone.’ Daily Mail
‘Antonio Manzini has created an Italian detective to rival Andrea Camilleri’s Inspector Montalbano with deputy chief Rocco Schiavone’ GQ
‘An arresting murder mystery’ Monocle
‘The ranks of impressive Euro Noir novelists is swelled by the gritty Antonio Manzini, whose Black Run may sport epigraphs from Schilller and Mayakovsky, but underlines its genre-credentials with a superstructure of diamond-hard crime writing … this is lacerating stuff’ Barry Forshaw, Financial Times
‘Forget Montalbano. Commisario Rocco Schivone is grievous, coarse, violent … Wonderful, heartbreaking’ L’Uomo Vogue
‘A writing style that captivates’ La Gioia
‘Corrupt and ingenious, Rocco Schiavone echoes Dudley Smith from L.A. Confidential … Cinematic and literary’ La Stampa
‘Rocco Schivone is as bad a cop as Lt. Kojak. Dishonest, potentially violent, intolerant of the rules, but he also has a talent for the job he does … an unusual character … Noir with a touch of dark irony’ Repubblica
‘Surly, moody, individualistic, unconventional, corrupt, abusive, with a dark past, Rocco Schiavone seems to come from the dark metropolis of a novel by James Ellroy’ L’Indice
‘Manzini devotes more space to his characters than to events; and the detective story is a pretext for talking brilliantly about the Italian society.’ Andrea Camilleri