Well, it’s 1975, and the Red Brigade has exploded in Italy. Riots in the streets, and the wealthy (especially their kids) are kidnapped with impunity. You might have heard of J. Paul Getty’s grandson. His kidnappers sent a piece of his ear to his grandfather to show they were serious. Getty famously replied, meh. At least the grandson eventually was let go, but others did not survive. Fortunately, all of Getty’s money ended up resulting in a couple of fabulous museums.
So this the world into which Reno (named for her hometown) is thrown. We meet her racing her motorcycle cross-country, and putting in an unexpected record setting run at the Bonneville Salt Flats, which catches the eye of Sandro Valera, scion of an Italian motorcycle empire. Off they go the New York where they dabble in the avant garde art world, and eventually to Italy to visit his family, wherein all hell breaks loose.
And this is my problem with this book. The racing and the Italy parts were great. But Reno the naif, in the New York art scene, just didn’t seem like the same person to me, and I’m not too sure what that brought to the table. A taste of it might have been fine, but quite honestly, it wasn’t until we got to Italy that I perked up again, and thought, oh. Here we go.