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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Then You Almost Die
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...
Published on 28 Nov. 2002 by taking a rest

versus
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A happy ending for Zen?
The delay in publishing Dibdin's non-fiction work 'The Vine' means that this year's book is And Then You Die, in which Zen's post-explosion life is examined.

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...
Published on 15 Jan. 2002


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A happy ending for Zen?, 15 Jan. 2002
By A Customer
The delay in publishing Dibdin's non-fiction work 'The Vine' means that this year's book is And Then You Die, in which Zen's post-explosion life is examined.

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!
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44 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Then You Almost Die, 28 Nov. 2002
By 
taking a rest - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
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.
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4.0 out of 5 stars And Then You Die, 18 Aug. 2012
By 
Ragnar - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
In this, the eighth title in the Aurelio Zen series, our hero spots a T-shirt. On the front are the words `Life's a Beach', on the back `And Then You Die'. So this book takes its title from the back of a T-shirt.

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. Yes, Icelandic culture is very different from the Italian culture, which Zen so prefers, but you have to wonder what is so great about Italian culture when we read a passage like this.

`You knew where you were in a Catholic culture: up to your neck in lies, evasions, impenetrable mysteries, double-dealing, back-stabbing and underhand intrigues of every kind.' (Vintage edition, page 56).

As always, the book is so well written the reader can take pleasure from the prose. And as usual there is some love interest, in the form of Gemma, whom he meets at Versilia. But since this title is closely involved with its predecessor, Blood Rain should be read first.
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28 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zen Lives, 15 Jan. 2003
By 
Jon Mitchell (Elstree, Herts United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
Perhaps in my sub-consious Zen was dead.
How wrong could I have been.
He's back stronger, more cynical and as crafty as a fox.
Dibdin leads us, addicted, into Zen's paranoid mind, as our beloved hero is swept around the world, a trail of corpses in his wake.
To the land to which so many of his compatriotes had gone in search of a dream, America, he waits his summons to appears as a star witness in a Mafia trial.
An enormously enjoyable read.
Silly me, isn't he always ?
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2.0 out of 5 stars book of two halves, 13 May 2012
By 
Rob Kitchin - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
And Then You Die is a novel of two halves. The first half is an enjoyable enough read. A little slow, but interesting enough, with some nice prose and observations, and solid characterization. The second half was very disappointing. The plot, which had been okay, suddenly becomes ridiculous. And rather than there just being one strange flaw, the rest of the book is full of them, compounding the problem (and the issues are not just small, niggly things, but crucial plot devices that are simply not credible). The pace shifts from being steady and sure to a mad rush to the end, and the charactization swaps to caricature. I really don't understand the reason for this. It was if the author had made it half way through the manuscript and then suddenly stopped believing in the story and wanted to get it over as soon as possible. A real shame as the first half was good. The second half though was a real let down.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If you love Italy, take if from me, 2 Mar. 2015
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This review is from: And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen 08) (Paperback)
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. Each book gives a rich flavour of the city in which it is set. I consider Michael Dibdin a seriously under-rated novelist. His prose is rich and characters complex. But it is the descriptions of each city's landscape and individuality which gives the series their flair. If you love Italy, take if from me, it is worth starting with Ratking and working your way through to End Games. Like me, you will feel you have had a tour through the country, its culture and vagaries. You will be sad to get to the end but will certainly enjoy the journey.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars And Then You Die, 5 Dec. 2012
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Grampa (Ayrshire, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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"Life's a Beach ......". Zen's recuperating on a beach on the Italian Riviera and people round about him are being killed. Why?
The Kindle edition downloads easily and it e reads very well
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4.0 out of 5 stars And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen Mystery), 23 Sept. 2012
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First came across Aurelio Zen on television and very much enjoyed the experience and in the same way discovered Inspector Montalbano. When I noticed Inspector Montalbano was published on Kindle I snapped-up all the available stories and very quickly read the lot in no time, which left a bit of hole in my reading needs. What next, Zen seemed a handy option but I have to say, whilst enjoyable not up to Montalbano quality of characterisation and plot-line.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars And then you die, 13 Jan. 2013
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Confusing at times but as usual Dibdin includes the culture of the region superbly as the plot develops. What a cliffhanger!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Zen, 2 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen 08) (Paperback)
Having watched the TV series which I thoroughly enjoyed I was rather disappointed with the book which was rather insipid .
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And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen 08)
And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen 08) by Michael Dibdin (Paperback - 17 Feb. 2011)
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