Lead Review

  • Book: The Savage Shore
  • Location: Calabria
  • Author: David Hewson

Review Author: tripfiction



The Savage Shore is set in Calabria – the region of Italy facing Sicily across the Straits of Messina. It has its organised crime equivalent of the Mafia called the ‘Ndrangheta. Perhaps not as famous / infamous as their Sicilian cousins, but every bit as deadly. The head of the family, Lo Spettro (the ghost), has decided he has had enough – and wants to give himself up to the authorities. Information in exchange for a new identity.

He needs to do so with maximum security and secrecy – people will be out to kill him. The local police (many of whom are in the pay of the ‘Ndrangheta) cannot be trusted. Roman detective, Nic Costa, is the person designated to bring him in. Nic has to go deep undercover to win the trust and respect of those surrounding Lo Spettro. It is a highly dangerous mission – one mistake could put him and his team in grave peril. Lo Spettro is arranging a meet of the local family heads, together with the Mafia bosses from across the Straits. His deal with Nic is that he will deliver them all to the Roman SWOT team in exchange for immunity and a new life.

It is, of course, not as simple as it seems. There is treachery and double crossing aplenty as the story builds to a thrilling climax.

David Hewson is one of TripFiction’s favourite authors. His books are extremely exciting, and extremely well and intelligently written. He also evokes a brilliant sense of location. The Savage Shore really takes you to the desolate southernmost tip of Italy. Largely off the tourist beaten track, it is where the ‘Ndrangheta dominates the local economy and way of life. It is wild country inhabited by wild men. You really feel immersed in this fascinating area and the way it operates.

Highly recommended.

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