Carlotto, Massimo 1956-

views updated

Carlotto, Massimo 1956-


Born 1956, in Padua, Italy; married; wife's name Colomba; children: Giovanni.


Home—Sardinia, Italy.


Writer and consultant.



Arrivederci amore, ciao (fiction), Edizioni E/O (Rome, Italy), 2001, translated as The Goodbye Kiss, Europa (Rome, Italy), 2006.

Il maestro di nodi (novel; "Alligator" series), Edizioni E/O (Rome, Italy), 2002, translated by Christopher Woodall as The Master of Knots (novel), Orion (London, England), 2004.

The Columbian Mule (novel; "Alligator" series), Orion (London, England), 2003.

L'oscura immensitá della morte: [noir], (novel), Edizioni E/O (Rome, Italy), 2004, published as Death's Dark Abyss, Europa Editions, 2006.


Le irregolari: Buenos Aires Horror Tour (fiction), Edizioni E/O (Rome, Italy), 1998.

Niente, più niente al mondo: monologo per un delitto, Edizioni E/O (Rome, Italy), 2004.

Piu di mille giovedi: la storia delle Madres de Plaza de Mayo (two plays), preface by Tiziano Pizzamiglio, postscript by Bice Fubini, 2004.

L'ultimo treno, edited by Marco Schiavone, BC (Scandiano, Italy), 2004.

Radio Bellablu: un noir seriale in 40 puntate, adapted to radio by Sergio Ferrentino, D. Audino (Rome, Italy), 2004.

Nordest, Edizioni E/O (Rome, Italy), 2005.

Also author of the novel Il fuggiasco ("The Fugitive"). Contributor to books, including the short-story collection Capodanno nero, Todaro (Lugano, Italy), c. 2000. Contributor of newspaper articles and essays. Works have been translated into numerous languages, including English, French, and German.


Arrivederci amore, ciao, Il fuggiasco, and L'oscura immensitá della morte: [noir] were adapted as films.


Massimo Carlotto came to writing via a prison term for a murder he did not commit. In 1976, Carlotto was part of an Italian left-wing political movement and witnessed the brutal stabbing of a young woman. When he went to help save her, he became covered in blood before contacting the police, who quickly arrested him for the murder. When it became apparent that he would be convicted of the crime, Carlotto went on the run at the advice of his own lawyers, only to end up in a Mexican prison, where he was brutally beaten before being taken back to Italy. Once there, he was eventually sentenced to prison until 1993, when he received a pardon from the Italian government. Upon his release from prison, Carlotto immediately began writing and produced his first autobiographical novel, Il fuggiasco. Since that time, he has become renowned for his hard-boiled, "noir" mystery novels featuring the character Alligator. According to Massimo, all of his mysteries are based on true events and real people. "I have never once made up a killing," the author told Brian Oliver in the London Observer. "Every single death in everything I have written relates to a real killing, one for which I have read the autopsy report. I have seen the documents, I have carried out one-to-one interviews with murderers. This is my way of recording what is happening in present day Italy."

Massimo's international success has led to publications of his "Alligator" series in English and other languages. In The Columbian Mule, for one, an art dealer is framed in connection with Colombian drug deals after a "mule" is caught smuggling. As a result, the art dealer's lawyer brings ex-con Alligator on to the team to discover who set his client up. "The morally ambiguous tone makes this an intriguing read, and the suspense is well maintained," wrote a Europe Intelligence Wire contributor. Karen Meek, writing on the Eurocrime Web site, commented: "The Columbian Mule is a fascinating glimpse into Italian culture and justice system. It's sparely written and though quite short, there's a lot of action."

L'oscura immensitá della morte: [noir], which means "The Dark Immensity of Death," was published in the United States as Death's Dark Abyss. The story revolves around a botched robbery during which two hostages die. Sent to prison for life for refusal to identify his accomplices, Raffaello Beggiato eventually contracts cancer while in jail. He then writes to Silvano Contin, whose wife and child were the murdered robbery hostages, asking that Contin add a letter to other letters recommending that Beggiato be released. When Contin finds out that Beggiato is likely to gain his freedom, he starts planning his revenge. "Beneath the conventions of Continental noir is a remarkable study of corruption and redemption in a world where revenge is best served ice-cold," wrote a Kirkus Reviews contributor. A Publishers Weekly critic felt that Carlotto "manages to make Contin's descent into hell plausible and heartbreaking."

Also released in 2006 in English translation, The Goodbye Kiss tells the story of Pellegrina, a former left-wing terrorist seeking to return to Italy and make it big. His climb to the top is bloody and is described by Pellegrina in detail. Noting that the author is successful in creating a sympathetic character out of a completely amoral person, Bill Ott wrote in Booklist: "The flat narration—just-the-facts-ma'am, without the Dragnet morality—rips with irony." A Kirkus Reviews contributor called the novel a "nasty, explosive little tome warmly recommended to fans of James M. Cain for its casually brutal amorality and truly astonishing speed."



Booklist, January 1, 2006, Bill Ott, review of The Goodbye Kiss, p. 66; May 1, 2006, Bill Ott, "A Hard-Boiled Gazetteer to Italy," includes review of The Goodbye Kiss, p. 10.

Europe Intelligence Wire, January 17, 2004, review of The Columbian Mule.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 2005, review of The Goodbye Kiss, p. 1212; September 15, 2006, review of Death's Dark Abyss, p. 930.

Observer (London, England), January 30, 2005, Brian Oliver, "I'm Not Interested in the Good Guys Winning," profile of Massimo Carlotto.

Publishers Weekly, August 7, 2006, review of Death's Dark Abyss, p. 29.


Bastulli, (December 17, 2006), brief profile of Massimo Carlotto.

Eurocrime, (December 19, 2006), Karen Meek, reviews of The Goodbye Kiss and The Columbian Mule.

Italian Mysteries, (December 17, 2006), brief profile of Massimo Carlotto.

Massimo Carlotto Home Page, (December 17, 2006).

Pen American Center, (December 17, 2006), brief profile of Massimo Carlotto.

Shots Magazine Online, (December 19, 2006), Mike Stotter, interview with Massimo Carlotto.*

About this article

Carlotto, Massimo 1956-

Updated About content Print Article