Santo Denti is knocked unconscious by his ex-business partner, fellow drug-dealer, Max and wakes him to find himself bizarrely not at home where their argument took place but in the toilets of la Scala opera house just as a performance is about to start. Slowly putting the pieces together he discovers a 14 year gap in his memory, that somehow from being a small time drug-dealer he's become a highly paid advertising executive with a successful international ad agency and that he has an even richer girlfriend, daughter of one of the company directors. This new world isn't all riches and success though; a fellow director has been found murdered - and Santo is top of the suspects list!
The set-up of In A Heartbeat isn't entirely new - there have after all been numerous books and films in which someone is accused of a crime, generally murder, and has no recollection of the period in which the crime supposedly took place. The difference here though is that instead of losing a few hours or maybe a couple of days, the hero has lost 14 years of memory. The world he wakes up in is so very different to the one he remembers - the city he grew up in has changed totally; he's missed the introduction of mobile phones, the growth of the internet and even Terminator3!
As all good thrillers are, In A Heartbeat is a page-turning addictive read - one where I felt very tempted to turn to the last page to check the ending. Despite the uncovering of the shady side of Milan - both at street drug-dealer and corporate board room level - the story is told with the quirky humour that I've found in TV's Inspector Montalbano. The only down side was that I didn't find Santo Denti himself to be a very likeable person - this could of course have been deliberate on behalf of the author but even so I'd rather have a lead character I sympathised with.
Maryom's review - 4 stars
Publisher - Hersilia PressGenre - crime, adult fiction,
Buy In a Heartbeat from Amazon on pre-order till 13/12/12