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Dark Specter

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  156 ratings  ·  27 reviews
In this majestically unnerving novel, Michael Dibdin, the creator of the acclaimed Aurelio Zen mysteries, explores themes that might have been ripped out of today's headlines, as he charts America's dual epidemic of religious cultism and random violence.The murders take place in distant cities and with no apparent motive. All that connects them is their cold-blooded effici ...more
Published September 23rd 2009 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published January 1st 1996)
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Dibdin is one of the more literate mysery writers; you know, the ones that don’t describe characters by the brand name clothes they wear. His serial protagonist is Aurelio Zen, an Italian policeman, and many of those novels have been set in Italy. This one has no police main character as such and switches the perspectives between Phil, the father of a young boy who has been abducted, Kristine,a police detective in Seattle who notices some bizarre similarities in seemingly random homicides throug ...more
Roderick Hart
Michael Dibdin is best known for his novels featuring the Venetian detective, Aurelio Zen. This series is unusual in that each one is set in a different location within Italy, yet Dibdin appears to have an excellent handle on each. This suggests an unusual ability to handle different locations and cultures. In the course of this series he also shows an understanding of the Italian law enforcement, legal and political systems - no mean achievement given how complicated they are.

This title is set
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Randolph Carter
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Nancy Oakes
Dark Specter begins with the murder of a family in Seattle. But it soon becomes apparent to the detective in charge that the murder is only one is a series of murders that have occurred all over the United States. All seem random, all seem motiveless, but that is definitely not the case. The murder investigations parallel the story of a man who, in his college years, belonged to a group of druggie friends who would spend hours philosophizing about the world, politics, God, etc etc. Now that man ...more
This is a real page-turner, and I wish I could have given it 2.5 stars. If you decide to read it, do not read the back cover! It gives away far too much of the story, and it puts it in the wrong context. I only had two real problems with the book. One, it occasionally has very odd philosophizing (contrasting European immigrants with "rootless" Native Americans?) that took me out of the story. Two, Dibdin writes two very believable female characters, but also creates a paper cut-out whose only pu ...more
Harriet Leeck
Brilliant craftmanship, what a compelling read
It was very very good and brought light and suspense into my ( em suspenseless ) life-
Dave Johnson
Having read the Aurelio Zen series I am catching up with Dibdin's other books. This is a dark plot and I found some of the material difficult at first but it is worth persevering with. It builds to an exciting finish,I actually rationed the last couple of chapters until I had time to concentrate on them properly and by the end I blanked out the last page unless I spotted the ending too soon! The fact that you catch the overall drift of the plot fairly early doesn't spoil the overall power of thi ...more
Michael Dibdin – stand alone
Random and motiveless murders are taking place all over America with victims of every age and background. From a baby to a wheelchair bound 67 year old, all have been bound, gagged and shot in the head. What has a religious sect operating from an island in the Pacific North-West and dedicated to the scriptural study of the poetry of William Blake, to do with the killings?

For a writer who is so successful, this was so bad I couldn’t get through it.
Dibdin was een rasechte kameleon. Terwijl sommige auteurs een oeuvre bij elkaar schrijven dat een onmiddellijk herkenbare cohesie vertoont (Paul Auster, John Irving, Pieter Aspe, om een paar namen te noemen), is de variatie in stijl en toon bij Dibdins boeken zo sterk dat je gaat twijfelen of Dibdin geen schrijverscollectief is. Dark Spectre is door en door Amerikaans en zoekt het bij het occulte en sektes. Met matig succes. (**1/2)
Stacy Lewis
Good news, bad news. Good news - after reading the first chapter of this book, you're captured. You can't not finish it, and quickly. After my last book, I needed some "brain candy" and reached for this "mystery". While easy to read, it's not every mystery that quotes William Blake and takes up the randomness of crime.

Bad news - I now have to read everything else that Michael Dibdin has written.
I'm struggling with this book. I enjoyed those of the Zen books that I've read, but this one is set in the USA, and I'm finding the murderous cult hard to believe in. This book may migrate to my 'will never finish' shelf.
Aha! Finished!
I was feeling a bit low when I was reading it originally, but now I'm less down I've been able to get back to it, and it turned out to be quite good really.
This book held my interest over a 2 day period, which is something all in itself. There were some confusing entries where I had to stop and think, 'okay, who is this guy?' All in all it was a great page turner, and the characters were unique and interesting.

The only negative comment I have is that I really didn't like the ending, not one bit.
A very good read. Dark Specter is a murder mystery that probes the psyche of the disconnected in our society. The story takes place in cities across the country and involves a large cast of characters, but Dibdin's skill as a writer weaves the various stories together and leaves you with the desire to read something else he has written.
Not a real review - I couldn't continue reading it. Not the Dibdin I have been reading (Aurelio Zen mysteries) but a darker, more bizarre story. Couldn't get through it - gave me nightmares, and not all that well written dialogue.
A man hears from an old schoolmate. They meet for a drink and
he is introduced to a changed personality. A parallel plot involving
serial murder. I almost put this one down; glad that I didn't.
False Millennium
Nice to get away from Italy and the Aurelio Zen mysteries. He captures poverty well. He captures cult think well. He captures nature well. Unfortunately, he's not around anymore.
This author is British but this really good mystery/thriller is strictly American.
Ember Stone-pierce
Excellent thriller with plenty of vivid characters and unpredictable plot twists!
Mike Benner
Loved this book, probably one of my all time favorite fiction novels.
Tuggerah Library chuck out 1 of 10 books for $6 23/10/2013
Pretty good. More atmospheric than plausible.
Didn't finish this. Sad.
Unusual... very good.
Umar Ismail
May 30, 2007 Umar Ismail added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nabila
I learn a iot
Monique Musper
Monique Musper marked it as to-read
Nov 26, 2015
Jess marked it as to-read
Nov 20, 2015
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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
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