Blood Rain (1999)

#7 in Aurelio Zen,
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ISBN: 0375708308
ISBN-13: 9780375708305
Published: 1999
Pages: 288
Publisher: Vintage
Find at: Amazon | Others

Description

Penzler Pick, May 2000: Dibdin's six Aurelio Zen novels (beginning with Ratking, which won the 1988 Golden Dagger Award) are as vividly Italian as if this English writer had never strayed far from the Via Veneto, despite the fact that he has, in fact, been expatriated for several years now to the Pacific Northwest. His hero, a battle-weary but still morally engaged Roman police investigator, is one of the more elegantly vulnerable characters in the genre, a figure who resembles Nicolas Freeling's Inspector Van der Valk in his ability to bring triumph to situations and yet never have them seem like victories. Moreover, like Van der Valk, Zen's greatest talent seems to be for making new enemies among his colleagues. In Blood Rain, Zen has been exiled to Sicily under the guise of acting as a sort of watchdog, observing a recently reestablished anti-Mafia taskforce. By the nature of the locale--Sicily makes its own rules--the fact that the work of this commission will inevitably be compromised seems clear. But where the cracks in the system will reveal themselves is harder to figure out until, of course, it's too late. Distracted by his dying mother back in Rome and by the island's perverse feuds and even stranger loyalties, and paying not quite enough attention to the professional travails of his beautiful adopted daughter, Carla, a computer specialist, Zen travels his usual idiosyncratic route to a crime's resolution. As always, he is most intrigued by the ambiguities of the situation--and is doomed to be the sacrificial scapegoat. Dibdin seems to be incapable of writing a bad book, and the Zen novels are his best work. Blood Rain causes the reader to gasp frequently in genuine surprise, as well as in admiration for the way Dibdin accomplishes his effects. The intensity of these sensations is something to be grateful for, since most books these days, even with their ability to shock, make us feel so little. --Otto Penzler -- From Amazon.com Amazon.com Review

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