End Games, By Michael Dibdin

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The Independent Culture

Published posthumously, End Games sees Michael Dibdin's Venetian detective, Aurelio Zen, investigating the kidnapping of an American lawyer in Calabria. Zen is as world-weary as ever, although somehow hardwired to the task of seeing that justice is eventually done. A plot involving the production of a film version of St John's Apocalypse ("Saint John of Patmos has variously been described as an inspired visionary, a deranged drug addict and a delusional psychotic") on location in Calabria, funded by Rapture Works, a murky Californian computer games company with Evangelical Christian links, offers ample opportunity for expressions of his dry wit. There's also some fairly preposterous intrigue involving buried treasure; and plenty of violence, if you like that kind of thing (and with Dibdin it never feels as if you're being mugged as a reader). There's even some sly cultural commentary about the status of tomatoes in Italian cooking.

Readers who may have felt that the Zen series had begun to flag will be pleased to note that the final entry is a very good one indeed.