Clara Scardi’s life has been upset by her husband’s disappearance. He was a rich businessman. His body was never found. Clara doesn’t recall her past. The tragedy has forced her into an apathetic life condition. She is helped in her property administration by Mr. Varosio. In the meantime, Mr. Mario Valadier, a lawyer, has to face the disappearance of his wife Emma. The Police Inspector Bertoli enquiries in vain. He thinks this is a case of elopement rather than an homicide or a kidnapping. Clara is in shock: she is convinced to be one victim of a criminal organization’s plan. She will eventually start an extraordinary adventure where she fights to survive and where her life will be linked to Mario’s and Emma’s.
Whose victim is Clara Scardi? Where is Emma Valadier?
Life On Loan takes place in Milan and it’s the first novel by Rossana Balduzzi. It’s an exciting story built around two women’s life: Clara and Emma. The author chooses the direct dialogue among the characters and their thoughts’ externalization. She leads the reader through the story where mystery is never ending. In this book, nothing is how it appears.

An intriguing new series that will pull you in.

Matt Baglio

New York Times bestselling Author

Matt Baglio is the author of T​he New York Times bestselling ​book T​he Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist. ​The book has been translated into over eighteen languages and adapted into a feature film in 2010, starring Anthony Hopkins, Colin O’Donoghue and Marta Gastini. He co­-wrote with retired CIA officer Antonio Mendez the book A​RGO: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled off the Most Audacious Rescue in History. T​he ARGO operation is also the basis of the Oscar­ winner motion picture starring and directed by Ben Affleck.


Can an irrelevant event, the encounter of a few minutes, turn the tranquil and well-off life of a Milanese woman into an endless nightmare?
Four years have passed since Emma, lawyer Mario Valadier’s wife, mysteriously disappeared into thin air. One morning, while Mario is taking his younger son Edoardo to the school trip departure, a woman bumped into him and a few moments later Mario discovers in his pocket an object from his past. Who was that woman? Emma herself or somebody sent by her? What is the message behind this inexplicable event? Believing his wife is still alive, Mario begins a frenzied research without the help of Detective Bertoli who unsuccessfully investigated at the time of Emma’s disappearance. The only one who can support Mario is his older son Enrico.
In the meantime, after being forced for years to impersonate the rich widow Clara Scardi, ripped apart the thin web of deceits that wrapped every aspect of her existence, Emma manages to escape from the criminal organization that kidnapped her. She is able to do it thank’s to the help of Andrea Pesce, Clara Scardi’s bank manager. Emma is compelled to live under false identity and isolate. To protect her family she must stay away from them and move continuously. But one day a series of disquieting surprises will disrupt her life again. The search for the truth will be dangerous and full of turns of events until a dramatic ending that is characterized by the same adrenaline rush that was typical of the crescendo of emotions of Life On Loan. The quivering tension that can be felt from the very beginning of the novel goes on and grows throughout until the last page, dragging the reader into the story and make them experience at first hand the character’s feelings. The paced narrative makes the plot similar to that of a movie from which is impossible to divert attention.

I usually don’t read thrillers. I stepped into Rossana Balduzzi Gastini’s pages by chance and I discovered a book in which plot and characters trap you until you are lost. A book built with method and imagination similar to those of the best tv series.

Roberto Saviano


Roberto Saviano is an Italian author (Gomorrah, ​Z​eroZeroZero)​ journalist and screenwriter.
His first book Gomorrah s​old millions of copies all over the world and it’s a b​est seller​ in numerous countries such as Germany, Belgium, France, Spain, Albania, Sweden, Israel, Austria and many others.
Gomorrah w​as adapted into a feature f​ilm,​directed by Matteo Garrone, that won the G​rand Prix Spécial du Jury at the Cannes Film Festival.​
Also in 2015 became a h​it Tv series​ produced by Sky Italia.
As a journalist​ Saviano collaborates with important Italian and international newspapers: L​’Espresso ​and Repubblica ​in Italy, the Washington Post, ​T​he​ N​ew York Times and T​he Time i​n the United States, E​l Pais i​n Spain, D​er Spiegel and Der Zeitin Germany.

In Italy, the striking literary debuts are few and mainly related to horror and thriller genres. Among these debuts, we must not miss Rossana Baluzzi’s novel “Life On Loan”, published by Betelgeuse.

Letteratura Horror