Michael Dibdin's likeable Italian cop Aurelio Zen has, by his appearance in the new Medusa
, had more than enough of the deceit that passes for civil society; this is a new, darker Zen. When the corpse of a young officer who supposedly died in a plane crash 30 years ago turns up in a remote mountain tunnel, the rival agencies of the Italian state gear up to discredit each other over crimes long forgotten. Zen takes the case partly to obey his orders to help stitch up his boss's rivals in the security services, partly because he wants to get a modicum of justice done. This long-ago death is not going to be the last, as Zen and others race around gathering or destroying evidence; the solution to what happened all those years ago turns out to be both poignant and ingenious, and to symbolise just how even the nastier idealisms of the militarist far right can be subverted for quite sordid motives.
Like all of Dibdin's books, part of what makes us care is a vivid sense of what foggy streets smell like, or of the delicate sounds of a near-silent remote country hide-out, and part is Zen, a battered moralist who solves cases and then decides on what might be the right thing to do. --Roz Kaveney
"'Crime writers don't get much better than Michael Dibdin.' Independent; 'Michael Dibdin is a Milton, it would seem, to Conan Doyle's Shakespeare.' Daily Telegraph; 'Zen is back at the height of his powers.' Scotsman"