In A Heartbeat – Sandrone Dazieri

Title – In A Heartbeat

Author – Sandrone Dazieri (translated by A. Turner Mojica)

Published – Dec 2012

Genre – Crime fiction

This is the English translation of a title originally published in 2006. Thanks to @hersilia_press for the review copy.

Santo Trafficante is a drug-user, a dealer and a thief.  Hit over the head with a whisky bottle he’s knocked unconscious in the 1990’s and comes round on the floor of the men’s toilets in Teatro Della Scala in 2005 – 14 years later. Aliens, time travel? Santo has no idea – but imagine ageing 14 years overnight! Shocked at the sudden and unexplained change Santo is not surprisingly upset (perhaps an understatement) as well as frightened. It quickly becomes clear that somewhere in his past he has undergone something of a change of direction as he is now a lot more respectable – in fact a wealthy Ad Executive with a few tastes that he didn’t have in the ’90s. Suddenly this clean-living Santo is replaced by the more uncouth one that was last seen in the previous century – much to the surprise of those around him!

Still battling to come to terms with whatever it is that has happened to him, Santo finds himself a suspect in the murder of his boss. Questioned by the police he can’t remember anything during the last 14 years, so being asked for his whereabouts just a few days ago presents quite a lot of problems. Santo sets out to discover what happened to him as well as trying to evade the police and determine if he is a murderer.

This was an intriguing take on a murder mystery. Using the first person works well to tell this story – leaving the reader as puzzled as Santo. The reader is faced with a whole host of mysteries – what happened to Santo to turn him from druggie to Ad Exec? did he commit the murder? it’s not as if he has any of the answers. And who is Santo – is he the brash, crude, violent twenty-something or the forty-year-old overweight, tee-total Christian? A particularly fascinating aspect were all the things that were new to Santo – mobile phones, G8, Al-Qaeda, webpage, Google…

Although an example of “hard-boiled” crime fiction the book has it’s far share of humour. The writing style is very easy to read and there’s nothing about the language that shouts “translation” at the reader. Probably one of my fastest reads this year. If you’ve read other books recently that deal with memory or rather the loss of it, then you really should give this a read – by far the best example I’ve come across and the crime fiction aspects certainly don’t suffer at the expense of this.

You can read another review over at Killing Time.

Score – 4/5

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