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"Blood Rain" is a novel in Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen mystery series, this time taking place in Sicily. Zen is sent there essentially to spy on the activities of an anti-Mafia squad, an elite corps that may be working without proper authorization in certain circumstances. Once there, he finds himself caught between several different groups of law enforcement officers and those on the other side of the law. His adopted daughter Carla is also in Sicily, assigned to install a new, integrated computer system for the anti-Mafia squad, and she attracts the attention of one of the judges working in the same department, a woman who is always under intense police protection because of the Mafia's propensity for knocking off judges. When Carla discovers that someone is infiltrating the new computer system even as she is installing it, she is not sure how to handle it or who to turn to for advice, but advice is something that she - and Zen - desperately needs.... I had previously read the first four Zen novels, but could not find the next two or three (even on Amazon!), so Carla is completely new to me and I found that not having read the entire series made a difference in how I viewed her and what happens to her. Aside from that problem, though, "Blood Rain" was an exciting and tense read, one that had me so worried at the end of it that I had to immediately search out the next book in the series in order to find out what happens next. Recommended - but definitely try to read the earlier books first!
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on January 17, 2002
Blood Rain is a dark and melancholy book that, sadly, only captures a part of the essence of Sicily. However, the part it captures is perfect. In this book, Aurelio Zen is...Aurelio Zen, and he's even more human and fallible than in the six books preceding.
Michael Dibdin is certainly a prose master and Blood Rain is a wonderful showcase of that prose. The writing is as smooth as silk and every word and nuance seems to be perfectly placed.
While Blood Rain is a wonderful character study of Aurelio Zen, I didn't find it a very suspenseful mystery. In fact, the central mystery in the book seemed to take a definite backseat to the study of Zen. I kept asking myself, "Okay, so when is Dibdin going to write about that body found in the railroad car? And what's it got to do with anything?" I found I had to deduct one star for the thin and not very suspenseful plot, but Blood Rain is still a wonderful book that is also highly atmospheric and one that lovers of Italy will adore.
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on April 17, 2002
Great read.Don't internationalize it too much. For example, Corinna Nunziatella's mother came from some, apparently obscure place called Manchester. Yet, she joked to Carla Arduini that the only time her mother had been abroad was to the Isle of Man. Michael Dibdin sometimes forgets which audience he is addressing -you'd have to be British to appreciate the Isle of Man joke but the reference to Manchester probably appeals to an American audience. I found B. Jones Diary (the film) confused at times. The language, clothes and setting were aimed at the American market at times. Nevertheless,Mr Dibdin's books are wonderful. You can even forgive him for the earth tremor which allows Zen to appear in the May new release. Don't kill him off yet - who knows, Zen could end up in an old people's home eventually and solving mysteries such as who's hogging the Umberto Echo.
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on January 2, 2002
Didbin writes in a very dreamily descriptive way, a style uncommon to most detective novels. After reading this book, I want to hop on a plane for Sicily (Mafia apprehensions and all), just to see first hand what the author writes about. The pace is tense, and, as should be the case with all good novels, is impossible to put down until the very end. The end, by the way, is the most dramatic aspect. The twist ending is not of the usual far fetched detective fare, where you find out so and so is still alive, or the best friend is the real killer, etc.. but of eerie realism-- (and reading through some of the other reviews, I don't think I'm spoiling this for anyone) the hero of six previous novels, Detective Aurelio Zen, is killed. The somewhat somber ending in no part takes away, (if anything it enhances) the power and valueness of the story. Brilliant read.
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on November 24, 2001
I am ready to sacrifice many things in this life. But I am not prepared to accept Michael Dibden's dispatching Aurelio Zen to the afterlife at the end of BLOOD RAIN. As much as I love Freeling, Leon, Simenon, or even Le Carre, I am not prepared to live without another Zen. I can live with Holmes going over the falls with Morriarity, or Clarice going off to Jamaica with Dr. Lecter, but I can't live without another Zen novel. My copies get worn from rereading. Please, Mr. Dibden, tell us it ain't so.
Dibden writes as evocatively about Italy as Barzini or Leon Battista Alberti or.... He and Zen should go forward. Avanti! Sempre!
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on June 23, 2001
This is Dibdin at his best - Aurelio Zen continues his litany of faults, idiosyncracies and insights into the most dangerous and beguiling scenario of his career. Caught between feelings for his almost daughter, Carla, and his need to solve the crime, Zen is drawn further into a truly perfect web. The end is traumatic and yet absolutely perfect -- you just have to read your way here.
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