Zen is determined to find a way to penetrate the code of silence and uncover the truth behind a brutal murder. His mission is complicated by another secret that has drawn strangers from the other side of the world - a hunt for buried treasure, launched by a single-minded player with millions to spend pursuing his bizarre and deadly obsession.
©2007 Michael Dibdin; (P)2008 Isis Publishing Ltd
"End Games offers ample testimony that Dibdin was at the height of his powers when he died." (Independent)
"Crackling with sardonic intelligence and alive with trenchant gusto, it's also a terrific finale to a career." (Sunday Times)
I wonder if the other reviewers listened to a different audiobook. This one is read by Michael T Barnes, who is British, not American, and who sounds perfectly straight in his interpretation. No added curlicues, at least not one a listener can detect. (Good narrators have lots of subtle tricks). But nothing that stands out like a sore thumb to me. Dibdin is fierce, as usual, and his Italian plots, scenes and characters are the same. The narrator doesn't get in the way, but tells it like it is. Dibdin wrote British English, so the accent is perfect.
My advice: Listen to the preview!
Love having someone read me a story. Fires in the hearth, rain on the roof, sunny days and surf. Good friends, good food and J S Bach.
Story is not too bad at all and overall a good listen.
Michael Tudor Barnes reads well though for me, he misses the subtlety of Michael Kitchen's reading that does capture the humour of Aurelio Zen processing difficult situations.
It is a difficult case, involving old families and some secrets, local acceptance of kidnapping for ransom, buried treasures, a celebrated movie director making a 'come back' with a grand biblical themed movie set in Calabria, and international 'movers and shakers'. And into this steps Zen, a Northener from Rome. For Zen it is also stepping back 50 years in time and to his added distress, all the local food is smothered in tomato.
Michael Dibdin was a cunning, funny novelist with an eye for telling detail. He would have been far better served with a straight ahead reading instead of the narrator's tin-eared attempts to create distinguishing accents for each of the characters. Pure ham, with a side order of Americans who all sound like parodies of Cagney-esque tough guys. I stopped listening about a third of the way through--I'd rather jump ship and enjoy Dibdin's writing in another format before this intepretation destroys it altogether.
I concur with Ken. I didn't believe that I would have to stop listening, but I ultimately did (a first for me in several decades of listening to recorded books). This narrator is annoying--a B grade thespian who felt he had to give a memorable accent to every single character. After an hour or so, it was all too much. A shame, because the plot line was interesting.
"The Curate's Egg"
I like the Aurelio Zen stories, but this one kept 'just missing'. The plot is clever; the setting fascinating; but some of the characters (particularly the Americans) are poor stereotypes. More like cartoon characters than real people... which is distracting.
And just as it was all building up to an interesting climax.... it fizzled out, leaving lots of unanswered questions.
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