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The Few

The Few by Nadia Dalbuono

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By Nadia Dalbuono

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6 reviews

Detective Leone Scamarcio, the son of a former leading Mafioso, has turned his back on the family business, and has joined the Rome police force. But when Scamarcio is handed a file of extremely compromising photographs of a high-profile Italian politician, and told to ‘deal with it’, he knows he’s in for trouble.


12 Jul 2016


If I had skipped the first section of the book, it might have rated higher, however, it was so painful that I can’t ignore it. Boring, tedious, confusing, excruciating, I could go on. I had to physically push myself to actually read it, and one page felt like the length of War and Peace. Yet, when the book did pick up, it was like reading a different novel; fairly interesting, short punchy chapters and actual plot.

I warmed to the character of Scarmarcio, although stereotypical in some ways, I thought he also had interesting depth that some police in other crime novels don’t. I enjoyed his morality, and the fact he tries to cut ties with his father’s links with the Mob, even though it would probably make his life easier.

I’m afraid to say that I wouldn’t pick up another novel by Dalbuono, which is a shame because I am interesting in Scarmarcio, but sadly the first section put me off beyond belief.

08 Apr 2016


I really enjoyed this debut thriller, I enjoyed the complex, interesting detective, Scamarcio, the political intrigue and corruption of the Italian justice system and I would definitely read another in this series. The subject matter, is dark and disturbing, but well written. Much darker than Inspector Montalbano. My only problem was keeping track of the Italian names!
We read this in our book group and most found the subject too upsetting, but agreed it was well written, I thought the subject was handled well.
I would give it 8/10. Looking forward to the next book.

I found this book riveting. Only took me a few days to read as it was a captivating page-turner. My only question mark was over the Priest’s free access in the prison. Some in our group argued that it came with his power but other than this, felt it was a fantastic read. I think I need a pause before reading more of Scamarcio’s exploits but will definitely be reading Nadia Dalbuono in the future.

I knew I’d love this book the moment I saw the cover – echoes of The Third Man. I am probably more of a non-fiction reader but this book had me gripped right through.

I think I may have been sold on the book before it started, being a lover of Italian culture and a Mario Puzo fan. It did not disappoint due to the multi-layered detective; the good and the bad of society and a complex but understandable plot. The subject matter is abhorrent but not gratuitous. The characters come alive through the pages, not least Scamarcio, who I can easily se will become identifiable as other detectives of popular fiction have in the past. A worthy first novel.

It intrigued me about the age of Leone Scamarcio. He sounded as if he had lived through a lot (I put him at age 48, though some said he was younger). I liked the thought he had experience on his side. All in all, I loved the hero and window into Italian culture.
‘The Few’ gave chilling insights into Italian politics and bureaucracy. It kept me mesmerised due to a complex plot and its fast pace. A very well-written novel.

Nadia Dulbuono has created a great detective. The book is full of pace, complexities and sub-plots to satisfy the reader. The subject matter is abhorrent but handled well. Not for late nights!

The characters are real and I'm still thinking about Italian politics. Not for the faint-hearted but this is a slow-burner that keeps on flickering long after you’ve put the book down.

Scamarcio has flaws but his tenacious spirit in his investigations make him all the more interesting. The Chief is another well-defined character and I can just picture their relationship in a TV adaptation! I’m intrigued to know how the author knows so much. Would she be able to tell us?
I enjoyed the book but find it difficult to remember all the Italian names. It’s a book that is probably better read quickly, so you can keep a handle on the twists and turns and remember the multitude of characters.

’The Few’ kept my interest with its pace. The subject is grim but not gratuitous. The author paints a society that is in denial or is blinkered from its apparent corruption. Indeed the protaginist is not adverse to calling upon his corrupt family but does the end justify the means? Lots to think about, not only in Italian politics and life but on global terms, where corruption is just one step away from respectability.

04 Apr 2016

In March of 2016 the 'Reading Group' at Rhymney Library reviewed 'The Few' by Nadia Dalbuono. This is what they thought:

"I really enjoyed reading the book. It was very thought provoking. It's certainly a book that I would read again as I believe you would find different views of the storyline with new, repeated, readings."

"Not a book I would have chosen personally. I have, however, enjoyed reading it! It had several parts of interest and dealt with a subject difficult not to turn into a 'circus'. The book had layers and depth of characterisations, strong plots, and was very enjoyable. It made me think. I would like to know what actually happened previously. I read this author's work again. In short, it was a good read. I WILL recommend it to friends."

"I enjoyed the book! It was a good read! It was well paced meaning it was difficult to put down. I will be recommending it!"

"It was an easy book to read. Moving along easily, proud with clues. I found it difficult to put down because the chapters were short and I wanted to find out what happened!!! I like the style. I look forward to another by this author!"

We also did a chart to see what words we associated with the book after reading. The suggestions were:


If you would like to join us to take part in our great free reading group it runs on the first Thursday of the month from 10.30 at Rhymney Library, Victoria Road, Np22 5NU - 01685 84606

24 Mar 2016


A good read: fast plot with lots of action.
Focussed on Italian politics, corruption and the mafia and took us on a scenic tour of Rome, Siena, Naples, Elba, etc. The hero hailed from a mafia family but left to join the police. Ironic that he finally got 'justice' with help from the mafia!
Negatives: 1. didn't feel the hero detective was fully fleshed out, 2. the second hero - an abused boy - acted in ways that were not totally believable.

11 Mar 2016


Bit of a slow burner. Found this difficult to get into at first, but slightly warmed to Scarmarcio towards the end for his morality and determination. Short chapters made it easy to read as you get further in.

11 Mar 2016

The Few by Dalbuono creaky start moves into much better parts 2 & 3 enjoyed plotting, Mafia angst and Italian corruption. I enjoyed his attempts to resist the pull of the Mafia only to use their skills, contacts and power.

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