Saviano, Roberto. The Piranhas. The Boy Bosses of Naples. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018. 368p. ISBN 978-0-374-23002-9. $27.00 Fiction
Following the international success of Gomorrah, which dealt with organized crime syndicates in Naples known as the Camorra, Saviano follows a group of ten Neapolitan teens who set out to create their own criminal network, one that is often more ruthless than that of the older bosses. Led by Nicolas Fiorillo, nicknamed Maraja after an exclusive club he wishes to appropriate, the boys start with petty crime and move on to armed robberies, shakedowns, random terroristic shootings, and murder, all while riding their scooters and cursing at one another in dialect (gracefully translated in a novel whose flavor derives in large part from language). Maraja's favorite book is Machiavelli's The Prince, and he quotes Aristotle's dictum that "From the hour of their birth, some are marked out for subjection, others for rule." Maraja is determined to be in the latter camp. Based on a true story, this novel is appropriately crude and brutal, at times difficult to read because of the teens' barbarity. VERDICT Those who enjoy Mediterranean or Neapolitan noir (Sandrone Dazieri, Massimo Carlotto, Giancarlo de Cataldo) will feel right at home in a world where chaos and vulgarity reign.