15.1.14

RATKING, by Michael Dibdin

1/series. Lovers of foreign-set mysteries will dive right into this many-layered tale of murder, family dynamics, love, revenge and the convoluted workings of the Italian police and justice system. Venetian-born Police Commissioner Aurelio Zen has been shuttled into a meaningless job as punishment for pursuing a kidnapping he shouldn't have shown an interest in. Multi-millionaire family head Ruggiero Milleti has been kidnapped. Zen is assigned to Perugia, where the Miletti empire is headquartered, and ordered to find the victim. The family claims to be devastated by the situation, but quibbles over the ransom. Local police do not help Zen, who's regarded as a threat and an interloper. But Zen on his own is even more dangerous than Zen with help. This is the perfect introduction to the series: subtle, complex, emotional. It's a 5.