Many crime writers use the experince gained in their work to help them achieve realism in their crime writing.
The classic example of this is Kathy Reich, a real life forensic anthropologist working in Montreal and Charlotte NC, who writes about Temperance Brennan, a fictional forensic anthropologist, who also works in Montreal and Charlotte NC.
P. D. James worked as an administrator in the National Health Service, and then in the Home Office working in the police department concerned with the forensic science service, and clearly used much of the knowledge she gained in such books as Shroud for a Nightingale, and The Dark Tower.
Among others Michael Connelly was a police reporter for the Los Angeles Times, and Gianrico Carofiglio is an anti-Mafia judge and this certainly adds to the accuracy of their books.
But Massimo Carlotto has had more real experience of the criminal world than any other author I can think of.
In Padua on the 20th January 1976 a young girl, Margherita Magello was repeatedly stabbed, and left for dead. A young student radical , the 19 year old Massimo Carlotto came to her aid and became covered in her blood. She died and he was arrested, and charged with her murder.
Acquited and then convicted, there is no double jeopardy in Italy, he was advised by his lawyer to flee before the sentencing.
He went underground in Paris, and then South America, but was betrayed by a lawyer in Mexico. He was tortured following a case of mistaken identity, and then extradited to Italy.
He was imprisoned from 1985 to 1993, when he received a pardon from the President.
On his release he then wrote a semi-autobiographical novel Il Fuggiasco, the Fugitive, covering the almost 18 years between his arrest and his pardon.
He then went on to write some very hard nosed noir introducing the principal character Marco Buratti (alias Alligator) a former blues singer and prisoner, now an unlicensed detective, with an obsession for the truth and a taste for calvados.
In Italian crime novels while you may find the truth, you probably won't find justice.
"Sicilians like Jews speak by allusion, in parables or in metaphor. It was if the same circuits, the sociological process operates in both their minds.
A computer of distrust, of suspicion, of pessimism" Leonardo Sciascia
Coming soon a review of the Master of Knots.......
sourced from www. massimocarlotto.it, The Observer, Tobias Jones;London Review of Books