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Publisher's Summary

A powerful industrialist, Ruggiero Miletti, is kidnapped. Inspector Zen is transferred to Perugia to take over the case - but finds that there are many obstacles in his way. The local authorities see him as an interloper, and the victim’s family, one of the most powerful in Italy, seem content to let Miletti languish in the hands of his abductors. Zen has crossed swords with the establishment before - and lost. Can he succeed this time?

©1988 Michael Dibdin (P)2014 Audible, Inc.

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Janet
  • Wilmington, NC, United States
  • 04-27-14

Main character let me down....

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I would have made Aurelio Zen more of a champion and hero. I did not understand him nor his thoughts and his reasoning sometimes escaped me completely. I wanted to like him more, but often ended up feeling like he was a bit of a lost soul/loser.

What does Michael Kitchen bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

The narrator was very good and paced the story well. His voices had tons of character and helped me keep each individual in the story separated in my head, which can be a difficult task in an audible book with many characters.

Any additional comments?

The mystery existed and until the end, I could not figure it out (which I do like in a mystery novel). However, the main character was not likeable enough for me and although he came through in the end with the answers like all good mystery books, I did not like him anymore at the end then I did as I went through the book. Well written though if you like the silent, remorseful, no longer ambitious type of man.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Michael Kitchen is quite good.

Expecting Chief Inspector Foyle from Foyle's War TV show I was pleasantly surprised at Michael Ktichen's versatility. He is really quite good. The story is a little confusing in parts but what murder mystery isn't? Aurelia Zen takes a little time to warm to but by the end of the book, he is like an old friend that you love to see. The writing of Michael Dibdin is nice and refreshing. I hope the complete series comes out and it would be nice if Michael Kitchen does the honours. A good book, a good listen, a good piece of work. Worth the listen to, especially late at night whilst you are driving home with nothing to bother you like traffic or your passenger wanting to 'talk'.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Great Narration

Would you listen to Ratking again? Why?

Perhaps

What did you like best about this story?

Zen. And Kitchen reading him.

Any additional comments?

I saw the Zen series and Kitchen in Foyle. That's why I bought the book. I like Kitchen's voice. He got into Zen's character and personality really well. Great Job!!!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Narration fabulously enhances a fantastic book.

The narration complements the underlying story to such an immense extent, that one wonders how gripping the tale would be with a different reader.
Kitchen's lugubrious style helped to capture the central character's personality and also, helps paint the scenery that surrounds the action.
Between the author and his orator, this production conjures amazing imagery of the characters and their locations, both of which intertwine a thoroughly gripping mystery.


1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick
  • Montreal, QC Canada
  • 11-05-16

Good story poor delivery

The story is well crafted however an Italian detective novel narrated in a British accent is off putting.

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Couldn't finish. :-(

I love the 2011 3-part Zen TV series so I thought I'd give the books a go. This could be a great story/series but I won't be finding out from the audio versions.

Ninety minutes in, I gave up after realizing I'd not taken in any of the story because of the awful narration. His voice is nice enough but his choppy/biting manner of (over)acting rather than narrating is very irritating. If I don't like a narrator, I can usually put push through to the end but I was beaten by this one.

I'll stick to the printed version on this series.

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Hate the narrator

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

i just started listening to the book and not sure i will be able to finish it because of the narrator.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Awful, all the acting detracted from the story.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Not sure yet

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Narrator spoiled it for me

I was really looking forward to getting into the Aurelio Zen series, but after a couple of hours I couldn't stand to listen Michael Kitchen any longer. The reading pace was too fast for me, and there was an arrogant or simply disengaged edge to his reading quality. I'm surprised at all the positive rating for the audiobook. If you aren't irritated by the narration, this seems like an interesting story.

3 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • S
  • 03-12-14

Idiosyncratic Narration

Glad I persevered with this one! Within minutes of starting this audiobook I was convinced that I was going to have to return it. The idiosyncratic narration got between me and the story; the reader affects a 'reading a list' type diction combined with a world weariness that actually made it hard to follow at times.

That said, I did persevere and once I got into the book I saw that it actually fitted the persona of Zen rather well. The story of a kidnapped industrialist and the dirty family secrets which are brought to light in the process plays well against Zen's personal life (sidelined professionally, unlucky in love) and I grew to appreciate the sly humour and cynicism. I will be working my way through the series.

Overall very entertaining if you can persevere with the narrator.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • k
  • 10-16-13

A good story but the performance was distracting

A very good story with enough twists and turns to entertain. I however find Michael Kitchen's narrative style distracting. He seems to slowly stress odd W-O-R-D-S in sentences which I find irritating. This may work on TV or stage for dramatic effect when accompanied by facial expressions or gestures, but which I personally find adds nothing to a book reading.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Craig Mowbray.
  • 12-12-15

Perfect prtrayal

The Zen series of books by the late departed Michael Dibden I have often gone back to and the earlier books by are far the best. The later books drift off and seem written as if Dibden was by then bored, which he probably was. This, the first of the series portrays the character of Zen perfectly and the choice of Michael Kitchen as narrator is truly inspired. His sardonic and world weary delivery makes him a perfect Zen. His strange intonation and emphasis in some ways almost seems to that he is reading it as if from his police notebook. Lovely performance and can't wait to hear the rest of the series

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • G. Steele
  • 05-23-17

Good story hampered by terrible reading.

I like Michael Kitchen as an actor but on this audiobook he fails to make the grade. His rendition of the narrative and badly paced and pays little attention to the punctuation, instead reading section of text with no connection to the rest of the sentence. Only the dialogue is well performed.
That notwithstanding, the story is excellent. When I was able to get past the delivery the book is a nicely written investigation which should appeal to those who like their detective fiction to be a little political and intelligent.

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  • Ms. J. L. Kyle
  • 10-12-16

Stick with the strange narration- it's worth it

This is my first experience of Zen and I'm pleased I finally got to him!

Like a lot of people I found the narration annoying. I then read reviews here and they all said stick with it - it represents Zen's personality. Being my first experience of Zen I didn't know his character so I stuck with it and then I started to get it. I now think the narration adds to the story.

The story's itself was OK, I guessed who it was quite early on, but there was still enough there to keep me engaged and I think I'll download another.

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  • Andy
  • 03-04-16

Not the best Zen story

Zen's first outing is a slow burner, but picks up and moves very quickly towards the end. enjoyable but as mentioned in the title there are better stories. Having said this still worth a listen as it will have you guessing till the end.