In the Name of Ishmael
Two police detectives, one in 1962 and another in 2001, discover that “everything evolves around the dark and secret name of Ishmael.” One is distracted by a faithless, fragile, pregnant wife, the other by recreational drugs and a woman with a taste for pain. Both are sorely tried by a gang of what at first seems like a cult of deadly pedophiles. But the child sacrifice-like killings link to politically motivated ones that stretch throughout the last half of the 20th century and span the Western World.
A special note before the story launches cautions that it is “100% fictional,” with “certain ‘real’ personalities or events appear, but as purely narrative devices.” Assassinations and attempts on the lives of figures from Charles de Gaulle to Pope John Paul I to Princess Diana are then seen as connected to the shadowy Ishmael network that pits Europe against America. No matter the intelligence and daring of its detectives, the answers remain just beyond their understanding, even when they unite after chasing the network’s crimes through Milan, Paris, Frankfurt and Brussels.
The ambitious and unresolved plot seems beyond even its author’s understanding, though his protagonists are deftly rendered as is Milan, “a city that gets dirty when the rain washes it.”