BLOOD RAIN by Michael Dibdin


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Aurelio Zen has been shunted off to Sicily by his superiors, ostensibly to act as a liaison between the police there and the Interior Ministry in Rome. Actually, though, he’s on a sort of punishment tour of duty, his main responsibility being to spy on the Direzione Investigativa AntiMafia (DIA) and report on its progress in dismantling the Mafia infrastructure. Carla Ardvini, whom Zen has acknowledged as his daughter, despite DNA results to the contrary, has transferred to Catania to be closer to Zen. As the computer specialist charged with putting the DIA on-line, she confides to him that someone, probably within the bureau, is hacking into its secret files. Before Zen can follow up on this, he heads to Rome to attend to his dying mother. Meanwhile, Carla, on a social outing with a judge under heavy guard while considering Mafia involvement in a railway murder, is killed when the car they’re in is detonated. DIA officials want Zen to take a leave of absence to grieve, but he wants to investigate Carla’s murder, and that begins a chase through warring Mafia factions, meetings with sinister DIA operatives, and lies and subterfuge so complex they land Zen in a car on a bridge with maybe the good guys, maybe the bad, and his life on the line when a bomb hits. Dibdin (A Long Finish, 1998, etc.), an elegant stylist specializing in Machiavellian plot twists, makes fine use of the loopy Italian railway system, the intricate double-think mentality of bureaucrats and mafiosi with waning powers, and the overheated Sicilian landscape. Cunning, bloody, and irresistible.

Pub Date: April 3rd, 2000
ISBN: 0-375-40915-7
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Pantheon
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2000


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