Richard Ross rubs his fingers over his scalp. His eyes sting from the salt and the hours of concentration and his ears buzz with silence. He can hear someone shouting. No, not one man, but two. They are arguing in Italian and their argument develops an angry, threatening edge. One of the men begins to scream and plead, “No, per favore, no, Ci–”, followed by a muffled choking and scuffling of feet. And then, silence: both profound and chilling, and pressed beneath the enormous weight of the fog.
Arriving on the unspoiled island of Lipari, off the coast of Sicily, Ric Ross carries with him a letter of introduction to Valeria Vaccariello, an aging star of Italian cinema who lives alone in the House of Strangers; a woman known locally as la strega – the witch. Ric is also befriended by Il Velaccino, a sailmaker who seems to know everyone and everything that goes on in the island. But when a politician is shot dead, Ric’s search for his family’s history soon grows into a quest to prove his innocence...
Ontreto is a contemporary crime thriller, told through the eyes of a young man who comes to the island of Lipari in search of his forebears. It is the standalone follow-up to Peter Crawley’s first novel, Mazzeri.