- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (2 Dec. 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571210422
- ISBN-13: 978-0571210428
- Product Dimensions: 11 x 1.8 x 17.8 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 593,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
And Then You Die (An Aurelio Zen Mystery) Paperback – 2 Dec 2002
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And Then You Die marks the resurrection of the difficult-to-kill Aurelio Zen. Of course, we all knew he wasn't dead. The shining light of Rome's Criminalpol, Zen, appeared to die in a bomb attack on his car, but Michael Dibdin fans were quietly confident that we hadn't seen the last of one of the most distinctive sleuths in the genre.
After months in a hospital recovering from the injuries sustained in the Mafia attack, Zen is incommunicado at a beach resort on the Tuscan coast, psyching himself up to testify in a forthcoming anti-Mafia trial. His orders are straightforward: lie back and relax in a classic Italian beach holiday. He is happy to do this, and even flirts with the seductive woman under the next beach umbrella. It goes without saying that his idyll is short-lived, and as a remarkable number of people begin to die around him, it becomes apparent that the Cosa Nostra is intent on finishing the murder attempt that went wrong months ago on a Sicilian road.
This is Dibdin stripped to the bone: a pared-down, fast-moving narrative that demands to be read at one or two sittings. The uncharitable might say that Dibdin has dashed it off rather quickly, but such is his skill that few will complain when the rewards offered here are so plentiful. Welcome back, Aurelio. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
'A roller-coaster ride . . . unputdownable.' -- Sunday Telegraph
'Michael Dibdin is an outstanding crime novelist; the author of, besides the Aurelio Zen series, a number of brilliantly written, subtle and powerful narratives.' -- Evening Standard
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Top Customer Reviews
Zen has entered a witness protection programme prior to his being flown to the US to testify against the mafia which attempted to kill him at the end of 'Blood Rain'. He is spending his time at an Italian seaside resort, soaking up the rays and idly flirting with the woman sunbathing next to him. When the man who one day usurps his bathing spot is found dead - probably a result of a professional hit - Zen is whisked off to the States; unfortunately it seems that the mafia are only too well aware of his location...
Dibdin is a terrific writer, and we all enjoy his humourous barbs at modern society. However, this is a very short work, and reads mainly as a coda to 'Blood Rain' - it seems that this may be Zen's swansong, and also a way for MD to resurrect him should the need arise in the future.
Overall an enjoyable but too brief return of Zen!
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.
Amongst Zen’s worries are the trial will be held in America. Whilst no lover of foreign countries, ‘In theory, at least, he was prepared to at least consider going to any country which had formed part of the Roman Empire. If had also been part of the political or trading empire of the Venetian Republic, so much the better.’
During his convalescence, Zen’s mother has died and his developing friendship with Gemma, a pharmacist whom he meets on the beach, is interrupted when he ordered to leave for America. Things go awry and, after his flight is diverted to Iceland, he is attacked and finds himself identified as a ‘skyggn’ [being able to see the ‘huldufólk’, hidden people who live in lived gnome-like rocks and crevasses]. When his services are no longer required in America, he returns to Rome to regain his identity within Criminalpol. It is fare to say that Iceland had little positive effect on him.
In his absence, new brooms are at work in Rome getting rid of dead wood under the inspirational watchwords ‘personal choice, personal empowerment, personal responsibility’.Read more ›
The previous book in the series, Blood Rain, left several loose ends, most notably the cliff-hanger at the end which leaves the reader uncertain whether Zen has survived an explosion or not. These are tied up in this book where Zen, having spent several months recovering from his injuries, is left to recuperate by the sea. He has to do this anonymously since there is reason to believe the Mafia will kill him to prevent him testifying at a trial in the United States.
However the Mafia, if that is who it is, prove remarkably adept at tracking him down, so he is obliged to keep on the move to stay alive and the book consists of episodes in different locations, ending up where it began - the Tuscan sea-side resort of Versilia.
One of these episodes takes him to Iceland, and it is clear that there is nothing about Iceland which Zen likes, which includes the landscape, the people, and the food. Not only that, but he sees the Icelandic equivalent of the little people (huldufólk, or hidden people) which few do since, according to the author, they are invisible to most. His hostility to Iceland persists after his return to Italy. Take this short dialogue (Page 155):
`Iceland has that effect on you.'
`Of making you drunk?'
`Of making you need to get drunk.'
The author might explain all this as Zen's reaction to Iceland, and we can't assume they are his personal views, but it does seem gratuitously rude.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
How dissappointingly unbelievable was this plot- the story line centres on missed opportunities of an assassin's attempts to kill our hero. Read morePublished 1 month ago by jeffwallin
Zen has survived a bomb blast and is recovering on the west coast of Tuscany. He is in hiding with an assumed name. Then a man dies lying on Zen's usual sun bed.......... Read morePublished 7 months ago by june finnigan - writer
Thank goodness. A light at the end of a tunnel. It's nice to read that the protagonist (Zen) has a little good fortune in this latest saga.Published 8 months ago by Andrea Killough
This is volume 8 in the series of Aurelio Zen novels. I must have bought it as a Kindle Deal at some stage and just started reading it on impulse. Read morePublished 8 months ago by tallmanbaby
Have been re-reading the Aurelio Zen books after a gap of 10 years, this time in order, which helps. And Then You Die is set in Sicily. Read morePublished 11 months ago by MissieB
Not the treat I expected. Storyline was barely credible and anticlimactic. I would advise anyone to skip this and get on with the real Zen in the earlier novels like Vendetta.Published 15 months ago by Mr. P. Skeldon
Was expecting more closure on Sicily adventure, don't like authors who keep trying to drag you along to another book to complete a story.Published 16 months ago by David Webb
All a bit unbelievable. If you saw the TV series with Rufus Sewel then you would probably be disappointed with this.Published 17 months ago by GrumpyGrizzly