1945, Lake Como. Mussolini and his mistress are captured and shot by local partisans. The precise circumstances of Il Duce’s death remain shrouded in confusion and controversy.
1992, Milan. Colonna, a depressed hack writer, is offered a fee he can’t refuse to ghost-write a memoir. His subject: a fledgling newspaper financed by a powerful media magnate. As Colonna gets to know the team, he learns the paranoid theories of Braggadocio, who is convinced that Mussolini’s corpse was a body-double and part of a wider Fascist plot. It’s the scoop he desperately needs. The evidence? He’s working on it.
Colonna is sceptical. But when a body is found, stabbed to death in a back alley, and the paper is shut down, even he is jolted out of his complacency.
Fuelled by conspiracy theories, Mafiosi, love, corruption and murder, Numero Zero reverberates with the clash of forces that have shaped Italy since the Second World War. This gripping novel from the author of The Name of the Rose is told with all the power of a master storyteller.
I was intrigued when I saw this book and read the blurb. I haven't read this author before now and since he seemed to be a bestseller, I thought why not give it a try.
The story centres around a writer, Colonna. He's life and career isn't all that great. He's alone, divorced and his great career in journalism or as a novelist never happened. He's brought in to work as assistant editor for a newspaper being created. The editor doesn't care about scruples or the readership. In fact, he doesn't even care about the stories being published, whether they are true or fabricated. The whole set up is a scam to make the owner of the publication some money.
The book is full of interesting characters as we meet the rest of the newspaper team and how they go about determining what will be published. There's certainly humour and satire woven in there. A stab at people's obsession with celebrity lifestyles and how tabloid newspapers work. Things get murkier when murder is thrown in as well.
This is certainly a fun read and an interesting look at today's world. Fans of mystery novels will enjoy it.
Disclaimer: This book was provided by the author/publisher via netgalley in exchange for an honest review.