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Aurelio Zen Books In Order

Publication Order of Aurelio Zen Books

Ratking (1988) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Vendetta (1990) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cabal (1992) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dead Lagoon (1994) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Cosi Fan Tutti (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
A Long Finish (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Blood Rain (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
And Then You Die (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Medusa (2003) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Back to Bologna (2005) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
End Games (2007) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Aurelio Zen stars in this mystery and crime series of novels. The series is set in the eighties. The series began in 1988, and ended shortly after Michael Dibdin died in the year 2007, just after finishing a Zen novel. This is the same year that the eleventh and final novel in the series (which is titled “End Games”) was released. It is the thing that he is most known for writing.

Aurelio Zen is an Italian detective. Zen is an anti-hero which contributes a lot to the series’s irony and black humor. The series have a touch that is light that gets darker and darker throughout the books. The series goes in depth in to certain aspects of Italian culture that are not as visible.

Zen is many things, erratic, all too human, and emotional. Zen gets through the always changing political world that he finds himself in. This includes both in his country and his job. When readers first meet Zen, he is already middle aged and jaded; he has even risen to somewhat of a senior position in his long service with the State Police. Sometimes he uses radical and even underhanded methods to get certain results, which he does when he feels it is appropriate.

Three episodes were made that are based on the series. It was simply called “Zen” and aired in January of the year 2011. Actor Rufus Sewell played Aurelio Zen.

The first novel won the 1988 Gold Dagger award from the Crime Writers’s Association.

“Ratking” is the first novel in the “Aurelio Zen” series and was released in the year 1988. Once before Aurelio Zen (who is the police commissioner) went up against the establishment before and once before, he lost. He has been exiled to a lousy desk job in Rome, where he counts paperclips. This is due to the political fallout that happened after the Aldo Moro kidnap and murder. Later, he gets transferred to Perugia, something that is quite unexpected to him. He does not know that this was done as a favor so that he would take over a kidnapping case. A powerful Italian family is involved in the case, this is a family with a control in a powerful business empire at stake. The person that is missing is the head of the family that serves as a major benefactor for a major Italian political party. Pressure is being put on to get results in the case quickly. Zen goes up against the local power politics, not to mention the fact that he has to deal with the problems in the relationships that he has with his mother and girlfriend. All the while he puts some unorthodox methods to use. He even comes close to the line of what is permissible. All of this in an effort to solve the case before he is removed due to the political pressure.

Fans of the novel found this to be quite the thinking man’s mystery book. Some found that the novel has a complex plot that has a lot of moving parts and moves to different venues. It has characters with depth to them, especially Zen. Some wonder what will happen next with such an interesting character. Readers felt that they were hooked on the series and able to finish the book quickly. There is great suspense, and readers loved the way that Michael Dibdin told the story here.

“Vendetta” is the second novel in the “Aurelio Zen” series and was released in the year 1990. Zen is able to return to actual police work. Officials in high up in a government ministry want anyone to go down for the murder of a corrupt and eccentric billionaire’s murder. His corruption in business dealings have made some exalted figures in Italian politics much richer. Oscar Burolo’s murder is impossible and unsolvable. The scene of the crime was his home, which was highly fortified estate; all the rooms had video cameras, one of which caught the murder as it happened. But it did not pick up the killer’s face. Zen wrestles with what appears to be a locked door case; he goes undercover as part of his investigation, and does so with no other help. He sees a face that he had almost forgotten about, and is now stalking him seeking vengeance.

Fans of the novel have described the book as a virtuoso performance from Michael Dibdin. Some found that they and their families had enjoyed the novel so much that the book began to fall apart on them. Some found this series to be unique, and intriguing to them, this novel included. Some wish that there were more books to the series, but since Michael Dibdin is deceased that does not seem likely.

“Cabal” is the third novel in the “Aurelio Zen” series and was released in the year 1992. After Prince Ludovico Ruspanti fell to his death in St. Peter’s chapel in Rome on a dark night in November, there were a bunch of questions that needed answering. Vatican housekeepers want the answer to be suicide, and they want it carved stone. Zen, who is on call, wants to oblige and then get back to spending time with his girlfriend at her place. Things do not seem to be that easy for him. Getting answers will not be easy. Each witness to the prince’s death is killed in a violent way. If he is going to crack the Vatican’s secret, he is going to have to get into the most secret place that there is. The fabled Cabal. How big of a threat is it? Does it reach far? Does it even exist?

Fans of the novel see that Michael Dibdin is great at drawing the reader in, at making them realize he is the one in total control of things. Some may not enjoy the book, as Michael Dibdin is not for everyone, but it is well worth the read. Once again, this author is able to shock readers who are not easy to shock. This novel will not make readers feel like they have been cheated. As it always is, the book is better than the video.

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