Roman police detective Nic Costa has been sent undercover to the Calabrian coast to bring in the head of the feared ‘Ndrangheta. But the deception is taking its toll. Out of their depth in a lawless part of Italy, Costa and his team find themselves pitched as much against one another as the mob. Is Nic getting too close to the enemy for comfort?
How did a trip to Italy years ago and the beautiful Italian coastline inspire THE SAVAGE SHORE? David Hewson discusses the starting point for his thrilling new Nic Costa mystery.
I’d written nine books in the Nic Costa series when I diverted to, first, adapting The Killing TV series in Copenhagen to books then working in scriptwriting and producing four novels set in Amsterdam. But Italy never gets out of your blood – and readers from around the world kept nagging me about a new Nic Costa.
The thing is I didn’t want to go back to the old books but to write a new one with the same characters. I feel even in a series each book must offer something fresh, not simply be a repeat of any earlier formula.
How to do that? Some years before I’d visited a part of Italy foreigners – and many Italians – never find. It’s near the Strait of Messina in Calabria, the toe of Italy, a wild and beautiful place that also happens to be home to a bunch of gangsters most of us have never heard of. They’re called the ’Ndrangheta, and are kind of cousins to the better-known Cosa Nostra of Sicily and Camorra of Naples. Except when I started to do some research into the area and their history things became much more interesting.
This is a part of Italy that’s traditionally been very poor and shunned by the wealthier parts of the country. Crime organisations have, in some ways, taken the place of politics, performing a role that’s as much social as it is criminal. And there was the germ of an idea: what if Costa and crew were forced into reversed roles? What if they were the outsiders, beyond the local norms? And the criminals were the ones in charge?
Books need a starting point. There was mine for THE SAVAGE SHORE.
THE SAVAGE SHORE is available from 31 July in the UK and 1 November in the US. Find out more here.