January 02, 2010
'The Collaborator' — by Gerald Seymour
Seymour at his best, tight and tense.
Long story short: Immacolata Borelli, teenage daughter of one of the ruling Camorra families of Naples, decides to turn informant after her best friend dies as an indirect result of one of her family's illicit businesses.
The story of her debriefing and her family's ruthless determination to kill her once it learns of her turning against them is extremely graphic, frightening and feels all too real.
Made me glad there's no Camorra in my Podunk town.
You want a little life imitates art action?
OK, try these excerpts from a November 2, 2009 Wall Street Journal story:
Police arrested one of the country's most wanted mob bosses on Sunday, a day after detaining his brother, dealing a blow to one of the most powerful criminal clans in the region around Naples.
Over the years, scenes of brutal reprisals have made the Camorra one of Italy's most feared mobs.Residents of Naples have become increasingly inured to the almost daily violence on the city's streets.
On Thursday, Italian prosecutors released a video of a murder in Naples that was met with indifference by bystanders. The prosecutors hope that releasing the video will help break a wall of silence over the killer's identity.
The video, shot by closed-circuit cameras, shows a man in a baseball cap shooting Mariano Bacio Tarracino, a 53-year-old man with an organized-crime record, in broad daylight on May 11 this year.
Mr. Tarracino is seen smoking a cigarette outside a bar in the Sanità neighborhood in central Naples.
The killer enters the bar, where there are at least six people, then emerges and shoots Mr. Tarracino at point-blank range. When Mr. Tarracino falls to the ground, the killer finishes him off with a bullet to the head.
None of the bystanders move a finger, though it is hard to say whether that is from genuine indifference or from fear of retaliation.
A woman is seen rubbing off her scratch-and-win lottery card as Mr. Tarracino is killed in front of her. A cigarette-seller moves his stall a few yards down the road, while a man holding a toddler in his arms looks at the victim and walks away.
Seymour, along with John le Carré, William Boyd and Charles Cumming — all British — are to my way of thinking the four finest living English language thriller writers.
Previously reviewed here, by Seymour: "The Unknown Soldier."
Knock Off Lamp
"Shaped like a bowling pin, you turn it off by knocking it over."
What is it?
Answer here this time tomorrow.
Klymit Limited-Edition NobleTek Argon Gas-Insulated Vest
From Popular Science: "Cold-weather apparel made with Klymit NobleTek is simultaneously ultralight and hyper-efficient, thanks to chambers that keep the body warm in the same way double-paned windows insulate a building. A layer of argon has the same thermal conductivity as a layer of down or synthetic fiber insulation three times as thick, and unlike those materials, it’s unaffected by wetness or compression. The wearer can adjust the warmth level on the go by connecting a thumb-sized argon canister to a valve in the pocket, filling the 15-millimeter chambers for more heat or releasing the gas to cool down. And because argon is nearly weightless, Klymit’s 10.5-ounce Double Diamond four-way stretch vest boasts the highest warmth-to-weight ratio on the market, keeping you both warm and mobile on the slopes."
Dirt Poster — 'The future belongs to those of us willing to get our hands dirty.'
My sentiments exactly.
Created by New York-based designer Roland Reiner Tiangco,
who describes it as "A poster the recipient completes
by revealing spot-varnished type
with hands made dirty by handling the poster,
the back of which is coated with powdered pigment."
19" x 25" open, 10" x 13" closed & packaged.
Hand silkscreened with envelope.
'A Fascination With the Potential of Completely Falling Apart' — by Kyan Bishop
part of the show "Bilateral Engagement" at the Art Museum of the Americas
in Washington, D.C., through January 15, 2010.
[via Michael O'Sullivan and the Washington Post]
Glass of Milk LED Night Light
"Light turns off automatically when tilted or placed upside down. On/off switch on bottom."
"Powered by 3 AAA batteries (not included)."
"Clear acrylic, strong and durable."