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In this masterpiece of psychological suspense, Italian Police Commissioner Aurelio Zen is dispatched to investigate the kidnapping of Ruggiero Miletti, a powerful Perugian industrialist. But nobody much wants Zen to succeed: not the local authorities, who view him as an interloper, and certainly not Miletti’s children, who seem content to let the head of the family languish in the hands of his abductors—if he’s still alive.
Was Miletti truly the victim of professionals? Or might his kidnapper be someone closer to home: his preening son Daniele, with his million-lire wardrobe and his profitable drug business? His daughter, Cinzia, whose vapid beauty conceals a devastating secret? The perverse Silvio, or the eldest son Pietro, the unscrupulous fixer who manipulates the plots of others for his own ends? As Zen tries to unravel this rat’s nest of family intrigue and official complicity, Michael Dibdin gives us one of his most accomplished thrillers, a chilling masterpiece of police procedure and psychological suspense.
In Calabria, Italy, an American lawyer is missing, presumed kidnapped. A movie company is about to start filming the story of the Book of Revelation. An obsessed games player, richer than Croesus, is determined to find an ancient Roman statue that is buried under a river. A team of mercenaries is on its way there from Iraq to assist. And Aurelio Zen’s latest posting is Cosenza, Calabria, where the local chief of police has shot himself in the foot. Looking down on all this activity is the abandoned village of Altomonte, once the seat of the powerful Calopezzati family.
When the lawyer’s bloody corpse is discovered in Altomonte, Zen is determined to find a way to penetrate the local code of silence and uncover the truth. But his quest is quickly complicated by the lavish and clandestine treasure hunt, which Zen learns is being carried out by no ordinary fanatics.
Despite his best efforts to please everyone and keep out of trouble, the veteran Italian Criminalpol officer Aurelio Zen has made more enemies than friends over the years. Now it’s payoff time. After his last case, amid the gentle hills and lush vineyards of Piedmont, Zen finally receives the order he has been dreading all his professional life: his next posting is to Sicily, heart of the Mafia’s power.
The gruesome discovery of an unidentified, decomposed corpse sealed in a railway wagon on a deserted part of the island marks the beginning of Zen’s most difficult and dangerous case. And indeed, it soon turns out that he will need all his cunning and skill to survive in a world where unwritten rules are enforced with ruthless violence, where one false step can prove fatal, and where the truth must be paid for in blood. …[more]