The last installment in this series by Michael Dibdin gave fans of this Aurelio Zen story arc a reason to pause. Zen however is most certainly back, using a variety of names other than his own, as he mends from the bomb that nearly ended his run as one of the better detectives that exist only on paper. The folks that wanted Zen dead have not changed their mind, and in this surprisingly humorous book, a series of bodies fall within a few feet of Zen, victims of occupying the wrong spot on a beach or seat in a plane.
I have read all the books in the series and this newest addition is easily among the best. Zen has shared his life in a hopelessly corrupt and bureaucratic Italy, the occasional girlfriend and his colorful mother. This time we learn more about Aurelio, as he is required to travel to The United States. It is here we learn of Aurelio's classical view of where travel is appropriate; specifically, reasonable places to go are limited to those areas once in control of The Roman Empire. If the Romans never bothered with America, why should he? And to fly across an ocean is simply madness.
His destination is Los Angeles an area he becomes comfortable with seeing because he imagines it as rather a bucolic locale with a great number of Catholics. His rationale for Catholics versus Protestants has less to do with which is better and more to do with the devil you know.
As he has with the other installments of this series Michael Dibdin spins a great tale, maintains the tension and suspense, and essentially misdirects the reader through much of the book. Happily for Aurelio he finds a companion, and they become bound together by a combination of love and bizarre events. I hope this new female character appears again for she is a match for Aurelio, and adds a great new personality to the series.