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Medusa (Aurelio Zen Mysteries


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About the Author

Michael Dibdin was born in England and raised in Northern Ireland. He attended Sussex University and the University of Alberta in Canada. He spent five years in Perugia, Italy, where he taught English at the local university. He went on to live in Oxford, England and Seattle, Washington. He was the author of eighteen novels, eleven of them in the popular Aurelio Zen series, including Ratking, which won the Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger, and Cabal, which was awarded the French Grand Prix du Roman Policier. His work has been translated into eighteen languages. He died in 2007.


The ninth outing for Dibdin's Italian cop Aurelio Zen ranks right up there with such earlier triumphs in the series as Cabal and Dead Lagoon. The theft from the morgue of a partially mummified body, originally discovered in an abandoned military tunnel in the Italian Alps, aggravates the adversarial relationship between the Italian defense ministry and the Criminalpol, for whom Zen works under the interior ministry. When Zen gets on the case, the Caribinieri make it clear that they don't want the investigation to continue. Undeterred, Zen travels to the crime scene in the Dolomites. He quickly learns that the corpse's arm bore the tattoo of a Gorgon, a distinguishing mark of a covert 1970s paramilitary cell called Operation Medusa. Seeking other surviving members, Zen learns that one of the four was killed 25 years earlier in an airplane explosion, though no remains were recovered. Another is suddenly blown up by a car bomb. Of the two remaining members, one has strangely disappeared, and the last, now a top defense ministry agent, has strict orders to "clarify the situation" by any means necessary. As Zen races all over northern Italy in pursuit of justice, the Caribinieri take increasingly drastic measures to ensure that the dead stay buried, along with the truth. As always, Dibdin shows us in vivid, elegant prose the sociopolitical situation in Italy. The result is a slyly intelligent page-turner by a contemporary master of the form. (Feb. 17) Forecast: Dibdin has always straddled a fine line between literary and genre fiction. With the recent resurgence of interest in international crime novels, in particular Donna Leon's Venice-based Commissario Guido Brunetti series, Dibdin seems poised for discovery by a whole new group of readers. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

A long-dead body found in a mountain tunnel piques the interest of veteran Italian police officer Aurelio Zen (Blood Rain), who is especially intrigued by the inordinate attention paid to the case by the Defense Ministry and his own superior in the Interior Ministry. The corpse turns out to be that of Lt. Leonardo Ferraro, reportedly killed in a plane crash 30 years earlier. Its discovery brings to light a secret right-wing military group that prepared to overthrow the government in the 1970s. Zen, who has been content in a small town with a new woman in his life, is sent to investigate. As astute politically as he is skilled at investigating, Zen "facilitates" events to make his superior proud. Dibdin does a superb job of creating a complex background of Italian politics and society for his suspenseful tale, and Zen-in the ninth mystery in the series-continues to be a great pleasure to watch. Crime fiction of the highest caliber; highly recommended.-Michele Leber, Arlington, VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

"Gripping.... The tangle of Italia criminale and Italia lite is irresistible; and well worth not resisting." --Los Angeles Times Book Review

"A suspenseful, complex mystery that is beautifully written and filled with humor, rich insight and deep feeling." --The Denver Post

"Dibdin's Italy-based Aurelio Zen tales are among the best in the mystery genreE. Dibdin's a special writer, onw who is a joy to read." --Boston Globe "A wholly pleasing and satisfying novel." --San Jose Mercury News "Exceptional. . . . If you like your thrillers impeccably written and sharpened with a political edge, Michael Dibdin's Medusa provides everything from car bombs to secret societies to military intrigue. . . . Zen is appealing human, while Dibdin's insights into Italian history, culture and landscape are packed with atmospheric detail enough to keep readers hanging on through the final page." --San Antonio Express-News "The mercenary and the political are . . . sinisterly intertwined. . . . Dibdin is essential reading for those who love mysteries and Italy without illusions." --The Washington Post "Tense and elegantly plotted." --Newsday "Dibdin is superb at evoking the exaggerated politics of an era of Italian turmoil and uncertainty. He has always been a master of ambiguous atmosphere, and Medusa is a splendid example of his writing and plotting excellence, as well as his social and political acuity." --The Times (London) "Remarkable [in the] depth and breadth of its on-the-ground detail." --The New York Times Book Review

"Crime writers don't get much better than Michael Dibdin. . . . His prose is characteristically supple, expressive and seductive." --The Independent (London) "[Zen is] a wonderful creation. . . . Dibdin's characters, his wit, his comedy and his loving description of the details of Italian life make this book a special treat." --Pittsburg Post-Gazette

"Atmospheric. . . . [A] well-crafted literary mystery." --Seattle Post-Intelligencer "[Dibdin] delves so deeply into Italy's unsavory past and distinctly dodgy present it will have you choking on your grappa. . . . [His] writing is rich with the kind of texture that comes from a profound love of place. There is horror in Medusa, and some unforgettable images of fear, but beneath Dibdin's authorial harshness there lies a tender poetic sensibility. The combination is every bit as effective as Zen's unorthodox methods of detection." --The Herald (Glasgow) "Seductive. . . Very satisfying. . . . Plunge[s] into the murky politics of Italy in the 1970s." --Hartford Advocate "One of the most adrenaline-producing outings for Aurelio Zen in some time." --The Express (London) "Dibdin's work deserves comparison with such . . . giants as Raymond Chandler." --The Oregonian
"A detective who can slip the boundaries of genre without losing the pace of the chase, from a writer capable of giving a tangible substance to his creations' habitats and haunts." --The Independent on Sunday (London) "Slick. . . . Dibdin is a master of his craft." --Roanoke Times

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