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Dark Specter

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  188 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Dibdin is a connoisseur's thriller writer, widely admired for his neat craftmanship in such novels as Dead Lagoon.

In this stunning new novel he once again widens the boundaries of his fiction, linking seemingly unrelated lives: a hapless family man whose world is blasted apart by apparently random events, police detectives in several cities investigating cold-blooded mul

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Published September 23rd 2009 by Vintage Crime/Black Lizard (first published January 1st 1996)
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Eric_W
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
Dec 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Anders Kermod
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark Spectre reads like a riposte to and corrective of Thomas Harris's Red Dragon. In Harris's book, Francis Dolarhyde is driven to kill by delusions centring on the Romantic poet and artist William Blake. Dibdin seems to be saying that if a serial killer really were motivated by the work of Blake, the result would look very different from what Harris presents. The motive for the unconnected killings is ingenious and, to the best of my knowledge, unprecedented; and the overall effect is thought ...more
Pattie
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ellen
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Holy Hootis! Shades of Scientology gone baaaaaad. An acid trip leads to an epiphany that William Blake's work is the Third Testament, and oh, what an interpretation! Cult. Religion. Second coming. The Specters. Oh I'm not putting up a spoiler.

This is a great example of Dibdin's "other" writing. His Aurelio Zen mysteries are iconic, and very Italian. Dark Specter is set in the USofA.

Sensitive folks might want to leave this one alone.
Jack Haringa
Oct 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
This non-Aurelio Zen novel by Dibdin is compelling more for the procedural work of the disparate police officers than for the 1st person narrative of alternating chapters. He's a well-read writer who knows how to turn a phrase AND construct a narrative.
Cindy Ball
It bounced around a lot, which was a bit distracting. Why and how they pucked the victums wasnt really explained. The ending was disappointing!
Randolph Carter
Jan 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Hester
Jun 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
Dave Johnson
Jun 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
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
LJ
Sep 08, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DARK SPECTRE – NR
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.
Suzy
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This could've been a really good book but it felt way too rushed. It's a shame, because I think the plot is decent. It starts out very detailed and slow-paced, then as soon as we begin to see what's up, it just plows through to the end, like the author couldn't wait to go do something else. The end is horrible as well.
I got this book for free and so I guess it was worth a read, plus the first half was so promising that at least I had some moments of joyful hope.
Stacy Lewis
Jul 03, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Guy
Jan 31, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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)
Adelle
Aug 13, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sheila
Feb 07, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Karen
Aug 10, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.
Colleen
Jun 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Chuck
Mar 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Bart
Oct 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: suspense-fiction
Pretty good. More atmospheric than plausible.
Ann Tonks
I had only read the Zen books up to this one and found it not as good as the Italian series because the end was predicted too early in the story telling but still an interesting read.
Harriet Leeck
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant craftmanship, what a compelling read
It was very very good and brought light and suspense into my ( em suspenseless ) life-
Tommy
Didn't finish this. Sad.
Velvetink
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Tuggerah Library chuck out 1 of 10 books for $6 23/10/2013
Umar Ismail
May 30, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nabila
I learn a iot
Madelaine
Jun 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Unusual... very good.
Ember Stone-pierce
Excellent thriller with plenty of vivid characters and unpredictable plot twists!
False
Oct 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Mike Benner
Aug 01, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, probably one of my all time favorite fiction novels.
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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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