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Vendetta: An Aurelio Zen Mystery Paperback – September 1, 1998

3.9 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews
Book 2 of 11 in the Aurelio Zen Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Corruption in high places, underworld skulduggery and a vendetta among mountainfolk are ingredients for murder in this literate, suspenseful thriller. An intruder guns down an eccentric Sardinian billionaire, his wife and two guests in his seemingly impregnable villa. Enter befuddled Venetian inspector Aurelio Zen, last encountered in Dibdin's Ratking. Zen, who has a perfunctory love life, a half-senile, bad-tempered mother and an intuitive faculty sometimes worthy of his name, now works for an Italian government ministry in Rome. He's dispatched to Sardinia to get the chief suspect, a politician's friend, off the hook. Two crazies want Zen rubbed out: a just-released convict whom he'd sent to jail years ago, and the killer, whose lyrical, half-mad ramblings punctuate the narrative--of course, the two could be the same person. Spinning a plot as convoluted as Sardinia's winding streets, Dibdin illuminates a deeply corrupted society and ultimately vindicates his hero, who outmaneuvers the supercops trying to silence him.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Aurelio Zen, the Italian Maigret, now working out of Rome's criminal investigation division, is assigned the Villa Burolo massacre--in which every member of the wealthy Burolo's house party died, with the scene captured on videotape (as were most of the activities at the villa)! While Zen ponders, someone lifts the videotape from his house and taunts him with notes. But it's only after Zen's superiors send him off to Sardinia to frame the ``murderer'' they have at hand that Zen draws the right connections between a recently slain magistrate, an informer, and the threats against himself--which tie in with the prison release of Vasco Ernesto Spadola. Waylaid in a ravine, Zen barely escapes Spadola- -before assigning the massacre murders to a complicated bit of demented revenge at the hands of a simple-minded woman. A multilayered tale in which Dibdin (Dirty Tricks, p. 970, etc.) juggles cynicism (in Italian officialdom, expediency wins the day--every time), humor (Zen's lust), and chagrin (Zen's relationship with his mother versus hers with her family of ``Auntie''-sitters). But the interspersing of the killer's thoughts is far too corny a ploy for a writer of Dibdin's skill. -- Copyright ©1991, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (September 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067976853X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679768531
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #414,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Diana Faillace Von Behren VINE VOICE on October 30, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this second installment of Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series, we re-encounter the Weltshmerz detective as he wades through an onion skin layering of vendettas that almost cost him his life. Firstly, we glimpse the case of the brutal murder of Oscar Burolo and his guests in his supposed-fortress-like luxury complex on the Italian island of Sardinia. Then, we are again made painfully aware of the infernally clogged(but precisely groomed and clothed) machinery of the Italian bureaucracy with its syncophants, favor mongers, payoffs, good old boy's club and nefarious double dealings with the less-than-desirable underworld. We realize that wealthy and powerful higher-ups in the Italian Ministry have a vendetta of their own---they hotly desire Burolo's murder avenged as Burolo's corrupt dealings lined their purses with the an ever-pleasant flow of cash. Dissatisfied with the currently held murder suspect,and pleased with little-known Zen's written conclusion that exonerates the said suspect, the Italian Ministry moves Zen to Sardinia to drum up a case against ANYONE who will fit the scapegoat bill. Before he leaves, Zen encounters yet another vendetta, one that may be directed solely at himself. Perturbed, but not scathed, Zen ferries off to the island in what he thinks is a sufficient undercover disguise. When he bungles his dealings with police-shy locals,he finds himself stalked by a killer who serendipidiously aids him in discovering the real murderer as he runs for his life over Sardinia's bleak interior. The luck that held for him in "Ratking" sticks with him during this foray; he returns to Rome in disheveled glory.
As in the first Zen mystery, the actual crime and its solution act as a compelling backdrop and springboard to Zen's real problems.
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Format: Paperback
No Author will ever replace Mario Puzo; his body of work featuring the Corleone Family is a literary, as well as a cinematic classic. For those readers in search of material that is as excellent in its own way, and takes place entirely in Italy, Michael Dibdin's "Aurelio Zen" series will take its own place in the genre Mr. Puzo introduced to so many readers years ago.
"Vendetta" is the second book in this series and the setting is Sardinia. A dinner party is interrupted when someone with a shotgun appears, and abruptly ends the evening's festivities. A man who said, "If anyone gets in, I will believe in ghosts", designed the security system. No ghost handles a shotgun, and after Italy's equivalent of SWAT Teams can find no way in, the enigma is set.
I have commented at length on why I find Mr. Dibdin to be such a talented writer when I reviewed his newest book "Blood Rain" and his first book "Ratking". I will not be totally repetitive, but I will note that one of the keys to enjoying this Author's work is his ability to sustain your interest with a variety of possible outcomes to the very end. His stories are constructed like a maze, and as Sardinia is a maze both above and below ground, the setting is perfect.
A very, very good series!
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Format: Paperback
A riveting crime classic replete with irony and intrigue, this fast-paced thriller will keep you in terrifying suspense, as detective Aurelio Zen, characteristically earnest if somewhat inept, bungles his way around Italy to uncover the identity of a mysterious mass-killer. Readers who enjoy fast-action plot will not be disappointed, as they follow Zen's broken-down mercedes through harrowing chase scenes across the rugged Sardinian landscape. The author's sensitive humanitarian touch offsets the vivid and sometimes shocking portrayal of cruelty and revenge in the underworld of organized crime.
This finely-crafted novel ranks among the best of our era. Surpassing in suspense even the popular-market fiction of Michael Crichton or John Case, Dibdin's "Vendetta" reaches the highest stratum of literary excellence.
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Format: Paperback
The first three books of the Aurelio Zen series (of which this is the second) read as a trilogy.
Whilst enjoyable, and as engaging as its predecessor, Ratking, and successor, Cabal, I thought there were some MINOR plotting weaknesses (eg a luxury car whose steering didn't lock when being driven without the engine running).
The Sardinian setting was well-evoked.
I do recommend reading the Zen series in order, especially the first three, where character development builds.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Vice-Questore Aurelio Zen, officer of the Criminalpol section of the Ministry of Interior in Rome, is entrusted with a video cassette connected to the sensational "Burolo Affair" about which Zen has to write a report summarising the case to date. Since Oscar Burolo had a mania of recording the highpoints of his life, the video tape shows a dinner party at his extravagant villa in Sardinia, when suddenly Oscar and his party reel away from shotgun blasts apparently coming from nowhere, the murderer having passed through the elaborate electronic defences of the property as if they didn't exist.

But when, sometime later, a pickpocket manages to steal the video cassette while Zen is boarding a bus and when Zen is summoned to the Palazzo Sisti and asked by "l'onorevole" to go to Sardinia and fake some evidence in order to withdraw the charges against the main suspect Renato Favelloni, the inspector is about to start one of the most dangerous investigation in his career.

Very good action-packed thriller with breathtaking scenes in Sardinia and an Aurelio Zen in full swing!

Michael Tudor Barnes delivers a stunning performance reading "Vendetta".
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