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By: J. P. Roarke

From the Village of Lucca

Pages: 455 Ratings: 4.6
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What connects a brutal robbery in the Tuscan village of Lucca, to murders that occurred in the American Southwest? And how could a killing that took place in an Arizona bordello be related to what happened in a grim asylum nearly a lifetime later? Paul Rankin is about to learn the answers-and much more. The young lawyer has been practicing barely a year, but already hates it. He's been hoping for the thrills of the courtroom, but the firm's wealthy clients have infuriating whims about a lawyer's role-the last one paid five hundred an hour for him to walk her dog! Enter Louisa Locke, a tiny, dying widow with a mysterious missing person case. The brittle woman already spent staggering sums on useless investigators, but will stop at nothing to find out what happened to a tragic, childhood friend named Laura. With little time left she offers a fortune if Paul's firm can find out. The work has all the signs of another dog walker task, and then Paul discovers his firm's retired founder may hold the clues. But that's Paul's own father, and they're estranged. Worse yet, the old man suffers from Alzheimer's, and the keys to Locke's puzzle seem to be falling away from his crumbling mind. Paul's already fractured relationship with his father gets only worse when he learns of the bond Locke had with her friend, and the touching reasons for her obsession. He begins ignoring rules to find out more, until he reaches a dangerous crossroads. He makes a stunning decision, and starts down a trail of murder and deceit that leads halfway around the world. Within just a few months of getting this ‘dog walking' assignment he'll get his wish for courtroom work-in an ancient Florentine courtroom, no less. But there's a catch: It's the kind of trial most lawyers have nightmares about.

J.P. Roarke spent nearly thirty years defending clients in court, training new lawyers, and running one of the oldest law firms in California. He has written two other books, several short stories, and a number of poems. He lives with his wife in the Coachella Valley, in Southern California.

Customer Reviews
14 reviews
14 reviews
  • Liz

    I was struck by how this book is really about women. Sure, the narrator is a young (then old) man, but the story is really about the extreme difficulties of women, and how dedicated, loyal and heroic they can be. Beautiful story, wonderfully written, and well worth my time. Where's your next story, Roarke?

  • Ricardo Gonzales

    Excellent. Beautiful book.

  • Adriana

    This was my favourite book of the year. These two women were both heroes, and their stories are dreamlike--terrible, really wonderfull loved it.

  • Carol R

    Wonderful. Really liked this, and the women--not just the two main characters, but how he/she (whatever) brought in Isabel, the Buffalo Soldier's daughter.

  • Joanna

    I agree with the others. This is really about two very, very brave women. Sure, Paul comes in to help, but what Lou (isa) and Laura went through was remarkable. Really liked it.

  • Juliette Foster

    There’s nothing easy about writing a novel. Some authors spend years working on their manuscripts while for a lucky few the entire process, from start to finish, might take a handful of months. Sadly, there is no magic formula for creating narratives that excite or sadden, or characters who are flawed, endearing or somewhere in between. For what it’s worth the best advice is to write about what you know and let your imagination do the rest. J.P Roarke’s, From the Village of Lucca, is a good example of a book that embodies those principles. Roarke, a California based lawyer, has written a gripping story with an ambitious structure that brilliantly exploits his knowledge of the legal world.

    It opens with a prologue that reveals an elderly Italian/American thief getting ready to commit a brutal crime, twenty-five years after pulling off “his greatest heist”. Joe Seppe may be old and absentminded, but he hasn’t lost his violent, spiteful streak and it’s that vindictiveness which causes his death before he can put his hideous plan into effect. In an ideal world he should have been snuffed out towards the end of the 19th century before he could destroy the lives of a prominent family in the Italian village of Lucca. They eventually moved to the United States for a new beginning, only for the adventure to end in tragedy!

    From the Village of Lucca is a novel which once read will never be forgotten. It is an engrossing, realistic and complex book with a narrative that seamlessly moves between countries and centuries. Everything about it works (including the moving plot twist near the end) and I’m confident this exciting, talented writer will continue to produce more novels of a similarly high quality.

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