Paperbacks: The Past is a Foreign Country, by Gianrico Carofiglio

This former anti-Mafia prosecutor brings drive and depth to a pacy psychological thriller. In Bari (where the author fought the mob), student drifter Giorgio falls in with a charismatic card-sharp.

Cue a sinister descent from scams at the baize into deeper circles of hell, as a fragile youngster drops into the dark. If Carofiglio's prosecutions matched his prose, then local capi were well and truly trumped.