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And Then You Die (Aurelio Zen #8)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  638 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
Having survived an explosive assassination attempt, Italian police detective Aurelio Zen finds himself convalescing at a Tuscan seaside resort town, where he is under orders to lie low until he is to testify at a much-anticipated Mafia trial. The quiet—and the boredom are relieved by the pleasant distraction of the beautiful Gemma, but just when he feels he is getting some ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 9th 2003 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published January 1st 2002)
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Feb 21, 2015 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of European detecting
Shelves: thriller, detective, 2015
This book is one out of the series of policeman Aurelio Zen, I bought it together with a few other titles by the same writer for a few cents as they make light reading during traveling to and from work, and occasional during work. And when I say light I mean as in not very weighty in format and it does not force your brain in any excess activity.

Aurelio Zen is lying on a beach in sunny Italy recovering from a bombing of his car in the previous book, so he survived. He is being hidden away from t
Roderick Hart
Aug 10, 2012 Roderick Hart rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this, the eighth title in the Aurelio Zen series, our hero spots a T-shirt. On the front are the words ‘Life’s a Beach’, on the back ‘And Then You Die’. So this book takes its title from the back of a T-shirt.

The previous book in the series, Blood Rain, left several loose ends, most notably the cliff-hanger at the end which leaves the reader uncertain whether Zen has survived an explosion or not. These are tied up in this book where Zen, having spent several months recovering from his injurie
Rob Kitchin
And Then You Die is a novel of two halves. The first half is an enjoyable enough read. A little slow, but interesting enough, with some nice prose and observations, and solid characterization. The second half was very disappointing. The plot, which had been okay, suddenly becomes ridiculous. And rather than there just being one strange flaw, the rest of the book is full of them, compounding the problem (and the issues are not just small, niggly things, but crucial plot devices that are simply no ...more
Dennis Fischman
May 08, 2010 Dennis Fischman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery
As the series goes on, it's less about finding out why people died and more about finding out how to live.
Feb 03, 2012 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-crime
Having been the victim of a Mafia car bombing, Inspector Aurelio Zen is under protective custody, recuperating dejectedly at a seaside villa. Although he goes to the beach nearly every day, he's made only a single friend, Gemma, who's separated from her wealthy husband. One morning, an interloper has taken over Zen's reserved beach chair, but since the man's asleep, and Zen doesn't take such things personally, Zen obligingly finds an empty spot nearby. It's a habit that will save his life, for t ...more
Sep 09, 2011 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy
I am definitely a fan of Aurelio Zen, and this series is one of my very favorite among the mystery-set-in-Italy type. Zen is wonderfully
philosophical and the Italian background atmosphere is very well drawn.
Unlike some of the other Dibdin novels, though, there isn't as much plot in this and it is not typical. It's quite meditative since Aurelio has just returned after nearly being murdered and people - who could have been mistaken for the detective - are dying all around him.
And there is a new w
Jul 08, 2014 Monica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In this surprisingly funny follow on to the explosive ending of Blood Rain, Zen is hiding out at an exclusive Tuscan beach under an assumed identity, waiting to be called as a witness at a Mafia trial to be held in the US.

He is not excited about the trip as he has no desire to travel to anywhere that was not once part of the Roman Empire. He is enjoying his leisurely recovery from his injuries and the company of an attractive pharmacist whom he meets on the beach.

He is blissfully unaware of the
Dec 20, 2015 Dermo rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think I should maybe have given this book a bit more of a review as I finished it in a couple of days due to its short length. However, from page 1, there is an obvious flaw. The main character is absolutely empty, devoid of believability. The other main problem is that the book doesn't have a plot. Nothing happens, the character goes from here to there for no reason, and seems to be absolutely clueless about the entire world in which he lives, excepting two moments where he notices things lik ...more
Alison C
And Then You Die continues Michael Dibdin's Aurelio Zen series, taking place soon after the events in Blood Rain. I had to pick this up very quickly after finishing Blood Rain because at the end of that book (SPOILER ALERT!) it appears that Zen has been killed, blown up by the Mafia. I knew the series continued beyond that book, though, so I knew he couldn't *really* be dead, but still, one's curiousity must be assuaged when something like that happens in a series. And Then You Die concerns the ...more
Jan Aldergate
Jan 02, 2011 Jan Aldergate rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I had never read any Aurelio Zen mysteries but I was glad that I picked this up in a library book sale, so didn't pay much for it. Nothing happened, there wasn't even a mystery, and for most of the book I was confused as to what was going on. It kept referring back to previous books, and in the end I didn't really care anymore.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 01, 2013 Nikki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Very enjoyable. It read more like a segue between Blood Rain and Medusa, or maybe just a continuation of Blood Rain, than a stand alone mystery. It also had a darkly farcical aspect to it, which I found quite amusing. (I'm beginning to wonder about my sense of humor.)
I can see why some might consider this unsatisfactory...

Matthew Fray
Very readable and atmospheric prose, a laconic hero, and an amusing style fail to disguise the feeling that this is a tying-up-loose-ends exercise. Not really the authors fault because that is exactly what it is, coming right at the end of a series. I wanted to read one of these because I had enjoyed the TV series and this didn't stop me from wanting to read another one. Although it all slipped down neatly and intrigued effectively (particularly a strange diversion in Iceland)I felt distanced fr ...more
Jul 24, 2007 Nathanielk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rare, relatively happy book for Zen. The detour to Iceland is priceless.
Apr 10, 2009 Louise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Not my kind of book.

From cover:

"Aurelio Zen of Rome's elite Criminalpol is back-but nobody's supposed to know it. After months in the hospital healing from wounds sustained in a bomb attack on his car in Sicily, he is lying low under a false name at a beach resort on the Tuscan coast, waiting to testify in an imminent anti-Mafia trial. In the meantime, he has nothing to do but enjoy the orderly and undemanding world of a classic Italian beach holiday; spending his days in his assigned chair on a
Jun 24, 2011 Mitch rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, kindle, italy
Giving this four stars because at the moment I think I've enjoyed And Then You Die the most of the Zen series thus far. That said, don't read it unless you've read Blood Rain! The mystery here largely takes a back seat to some navel-gazing on Zen's part. This is actually quite enjoyable if you've been following the character through the previous seven books, but neither the mystery nor the navel-gazing will make much sense if you haven't "lived through" the events immediately preceding the book. ...more
Sep 20, 2014 John rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
It's a terrible shame that the late stages of Aurelio Zen's career will elicit no further episodes from the pen of Michael Dibdin. We have to enjoy those few we have. In this one, Zen is perhaps more content than at any other point in his career,though of course we know the contentment won't last. Still, enjoy the moment, as Zen does, while you still can.
Jul 18, 2011 Andrew rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
OK this was a tricky one - I stumbled across the title in the charity shop and thought - why not give it a go. A friend raved about the Zen series and in the past a number of people have asked for Dibdin's work so here i was going it a go.
The book itself is very atmospheric for Italian life and society and the writing itself is easy to read and accessible but this is almost a missing section of the previous book. There are events and characters which are if not vital they are certainly referred
Zen has survived a bomb, his mother has died, and he is being, allegedly, kept safe out of the way in order to testify at a Mafia trial - but people keep dying around him (specifically, people who are sitting where he should have been sitting, etc.).

The novel is written in sections, which include an Icelandic episode (which was rather fun, even if it did take Zen well outside his usual sphere). Each episode ends with a crisis and somehow, unbelievably, each time he loves to tell the tale. He is
Mar 19, 2014 Anders rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
found this at a used book store, was drawn to the title. my first Aurelio Zen novel. very likeable character and writing style, the sense of humor hits home. "he had the the hands of a man who built walls or castrated horses."
Ann Tonks
A curious story and one that probably only makes sense if you've read the earlier Aurelio Zen novels. But as I had (admittedly a while ago), it was good to back into the room with this interesting Italian policeman.
Mar 08, 2012 Mark rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full of existential dislocations and narrative discontinuities, this mystery is almost an experimental instance of the genre, except in its conclusion, where Dibdin simply solves the mystery for the reader somewhat perfunctorily. The author's descriptive powers are still keen, but the main character mostly stagnates, as he's shuttled from one locale to another to avoid Mafia hitmen while he awaits the trial where he will testify against a Mafia boss. The principle pleasure of this series is the ...more
Sirin Nabokov
Jul 14, 2015 Sirin Nabokov rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Zen finds romance

Perhaps the best Zen I've read thus far. Short, concise, passionate, full of mystery. Great ending. Look forward to the next one.
Zen is such a great character and more areas of Italy are featured in this one. The only disappointment is how soon it ended. Time to move on to the next one.
Not interested in mafia crime but there aren't many choices are the local library and, as it takes place in contemporary Italy, and is pretty well written, it's what I got.
Peter Learn
This is not the Aurelia I know. More like a farce, and not a very good one at that. Just a series of banana peels.
Janet Martin
May 03, 2014 Janet Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A placeholder in the series, but still a fine read.
Les Wilson
Feb 18, 2014 Les Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best Aurelio Zen book I have read so far.
Michael Romo
Feb 19, 2015 Michael Romo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
FINALLY Zen gets the girl!
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Michael Dibdin was born in 1947. He went to school in Northern Ireland, and later to Sussex University and the University of Alberta in Canada. He lived in Seattle. After completing his first novel, The Last Sherlock Holmes Story, in 1978, he spent four years in Italy teaching English at the University of Perugia. His second novel, A Rich Full Death, was published in 1986. It was followed by Ratki ...more
More about Michael Dibdin...

Other Books in the Series

Aurelio Zen (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • Ratking (Aurelio Zen, #1)
  • Vendetta (Aurelio Zen, #2)
  • Cabal (Aurelio Zen, #3)
  • Dead Lagoon (Aurelio Zen, #4)
  • Così Fan Tutti (Aurelio Zen, #5)
  • A Long Finish (Aurelio Zen, #6)
  • Blood Rain (Aurelio Zen, #7)
  • Medusa (Aurelio Zen, #9)
  • Back to Bologna (Aurelio Zen, #10)
  • End Games (Aurelio Zen, #11)

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