Marco De Franchi, “The condemnation of the living” as in a Caravaggio – iO Donna
Un child manages to break free from a dark rapture. Another, miles away, he is snatched from his father’s hands. They have in common an extraordinary similarity, they look like twins, but there is no kinship between them. A very black story, a track that, at the beginning, leads to the criminals who roam the dark web, that area of the network where evil takes monstrous forms. To unravel the skein Valentina Medici, the youngest SCO investigator, the Central Police Operations Service. Taken a little lightly, perhaps because she is young, perhaps because she is a woman, she will lead the investigation to something unimaginable, an artistic frenzy set in motion by a serial killer. And she will be able to stop him.
A textbook thriller, the classic turn page that you glue to the armchair. Against the light, in the actions of the characters, we can read the experience of the author, Marco De Franchi, 35 years in the investigative police and seven in the Sco.
Let’s start there: what is Sco?
It is the operational Central Service. Founded in 1988, in addition to organized crime, it deals with coordinating investigative activities on the territory, especially when the investigation goes beyond the borders of the province. I have almost always dealt with drug trafficking, undercover anti-drug activities and then from there I transited into common crimes, including homicides.
Is it our FBI?
Yes, so much so that the FBI was taken as a model. Of course, there is legislation there that separates state and federal competencies. We do not have this division.
The investigator requirements?
A lot of sensitivity and patience. This is why women are often the best, they have a broader spectrum of analysis than ours.
Women are better, yes, but then the places are occupied by men …
I don’t think women are always better as such. However, in the field of investigations, a particular sensitivity is needed. A male investigator, to arrive at the solution of a case, goes through 100 steps, one after the other. A woman turns 1000, at least the good ones I’ve met. They seem to stretch, but in the end you discover that they are right because they leave nothing to chance. It is a different approach that can also be replicated by a man, but evidently it is more instinctive to women. They are more fussy, sometimes you have to take shortcuts, but sometimes you need to take 1000 steps.
In the novel, a few digs to the investigating magistracy arrive …
There are bad magistrates who have given bad directives to great investigators, police or carabinieri, effectively ruining the investigations. And there are also some good ones who have given excellent proxies, I have met several. It depends.
The charm of the serial killer
Why did you choose a female lead?
It came naturally to me. In this story it goes into the raw aspects of evil, I needed a wide range of emotions and sensitivities.
Where did the idea of the similarity between the two kidnapped children come from?
At first I wanted to mislead the reader into thinking about the crime of a pedophile. In reality, the murderous delusion involves many victims.
What does Caravaggio’s painting have to do with it? Concert of young people?
I am not an expert but my father was a professor of art history, I have seen many works. If you have to talk about chiaroscuro of the human soul, Caravaggio looks at them all. The painting brought me into the story I wanted to write.
Aren’t we tired of serial killers?
Perhaps. But for a story that investigates the dark side of the mind, there is nothing to be done, the figure of the psychopath who kills is the most correct. You try to be as original as possible, but the hook is to find someone who is bad enough to do amazing things.
Question to the writer and the investigator: serious killers who kill so many victims for a delusional vision seem an American peculiarity. Is there a reason why there aren’t any in Italy?
This is a false perception. Obviously the serial killer I built had to be excessive, being a novel. But a few years ago I read about the possible presence in Italy of at least 30 operational serial killers that no one knew existed. Serial killer can also be someone who kills a single person and then goes in search of another under the same conditions, those that can satisfy his project. American homicidal psychopaths have striking elements but if you make the proportion between the American and European populations, Italy is at the top of the statistics. According to the official numbers there are at least 7/8 serial killers. The monster of Florence, for example, in terms of number of victims and type of crime resembles and surpasses American criminals. So much so that, according to an investigative hypothesis, it was said that it could be the famous Zodiac who moved to Tuscany from America.
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And the vulgate that they are very intelligent people?
Very rare cases. In Italy as in America they are captured for committing stupidities.
We can rest assured …
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