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Detective Guido Brunetti is submerged in the seedy Venetian underworld as he tries to crack a prostitution ring run by wealthy and powerful citizens. From the author of Dressed for Death. National ad/promo.


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Detective Guido Brunetti is submerged in the seedy Venetian underworld as he tries to crack a prostitution ring run by wealthy and powerful citizens. From the author of Dressed for Death. National ad/promo.

30 review for Death and Judgment

  1. 4 out of 5

    Baba

    Commissioner Brunetto case No. 4: Brunetti has to investigate the death of a top city businessman and the case leads him to a conspiracy of crimes against women. A solid and interesting detective thriller. 6 out of 12. Commissioner Brunetto case No. 4: Brunetti has to investigate the death of a top city businessman and the case leads him to a conspiracy of crimes against women. A solid and interesting detective thriller. 6 out of 12.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Blaine DeSantis

    Despite my love and respect for Donna Leon books, I think she was going through a dark time when she wrote this. Or maybe she just got fed up with all the junk that goes on in Venice and elsewhere and decided to have Commissario Brunetti tackle some difficult issues. The book begins with a tractor trailer accident in which the contents of the trailer are destroyed - lumber and a load of foreign women! But life went on without a concern until all of a sudden 3 leading businessmen are killed and B Despite my love and respect for Donna Leon books, I think she was going through a dark time when she wrote this. Or maybe she just got fed up with all the junk that goes on in Venice and elsewhere and decided to have Commissario Brunetti tackle some difficult issues. The book begins with a tractor trailer accident in which the contents of the trailer are destroyed - lumber and a load of foreign women! But life went on without a concern until all of a sudden 3 leading businessmen are killed and Brunetti is assigned to the case. Throughout the book we are forced to face the financial corruption and bribery that goes on in Italy, the inequality of the Italian judicial system where wealthy corrupt officials and politicians get their crimes basically swept under the rug, while pickpockets and other minor criminals suffer harsher penalties. We also get a very up close view of the sex trafficking and pornography industry with a final result that is both shocking and yet totally believable. Wonderful writing, but a tough topic, a topic we need to understand and address. Brunetti does his best but sometimes the best is not enough.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex is The Romance Fox

    We return to the beautiful city of Venice and meet up once again with Commissario Guido Brunetti, in Donna Leon’s 4th book in the Commissario Brunetti Series. A truck crashes on a mountain road in the Italian Dolomites, killing the driver and a cargo of unidentified women. A month later, a prominent local lawyer, is found murder on an intercity train in Venice. Two incidents that seem totally unrelated until Commissario Brunetti begins investigating the murder of the lawyer, who has a clean record We return to the beautiful city of Venice and meet up once again with Commissario Guido Brunetti, in Donna Leon’s 4th book in the Commissario Brunetti Series. A truck crashes on a mountain road in the Italian Dolomites, killing the driver and a cargo of unidentified women. A month later, a prominent local lawyer, is found murder on an intercity train in Venice. Two incidents that seem totally unrelated until Commissario Brunetti begins investigating the murder of the lawyer, who has a clean record – something Brunetti finds hard to believe in such a corrupt city like Venice. And when the lawyer’s brother-in-law is murdered, Brunetti digs deeper into the coincidences that link the three crimes and discovers something so horrifying and so shocking that points to the powerful and elite society being part of a ring that deals with prostitution, human trafficking and the making of snuff movies and even child pornography. This is a dark and sad story of how powerful people see themselves above the law and see corruption as just part of their lives. Corruption continues infiltrating everything in the city and how the country’s laws are so outdated and confusing, which makes it possible for criminals to bend the rules for their benefit. Brunetti’s frustration at the abuse of power and how justice is manipulated is something that he feels strongly about. “Why bother to put the boy who broke into a house in jail when the man who stole billions from the health system is named ambassador to the country to which he had been sending the money for years?” We follow the thoughts and actions of different characters in the story as well as Brunetti’s, which gives us an insight about the case. I enjoyed seeing the special bond Brunetti has with his daughter, Chiara, who even helps him out with the case by offering to be one of his “spies”. We also see a bit of Brunetti’s humor…….. ‘How will I know you?’ Brunetti asked, hoping della Corte wouldn’t be a cop who looked like a cop. ‘I’m bald. How will I know you?’ ‘I look like a cop.’ The story is set in the 90’s and I had great fun reading about the new technology that was available at that time……Signorina Elletra, of course, is totally up to date with new items on the market….. “I’ve had a modem installed on the Vice-Questore’s phone,” she said, pointing to a metal box that sat on the desk a few centimeters from the phone. Wires, Brunetti saw, led from the box to her computer.” The results and conclusion of the case were frustrating and depressing. Excellent story revolving around human trafficking and slavery which is still happening today.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This one near the beginning of the Brunetti series (#4) is not joyful. But it probably contains important concepts for the series and for the crux of Italian justice system's response to the horror of the sex slave, prostitution and snuff film industries using women shipped from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America. And through that window also the context of Guido's associates within policing for the other districts in the Veneto. So it sets a pivotal stage. He is in Mestre, Padua area This one near the beginning of the Brunetti series (#4) is not joyful. But it probably contains important concepts for the series and for the crux of Italian justice system's response to the horror of the sex slave, prostitution and snuff film industries using women shipped from Eastern Europe, Southeast Asia, South America. And through that window also the context of Guido's associates within policing for the other districts in the Veneto. So it sets a pivotal stage. He is in Mestre, Padua areas especially through large chunks of this novel. We also have some scrumptious meals. A truffle fettuccine and duck meal in Padua with his compatriot of their service, that's one that was superb. But most of this one is procedure and dire. It's probably the darkest of all the 25. (I only have one more out of all of those novels that I have not read at this time.) Although there were some lighter moments with Chiara, that mood never surmounts the seriousness of this period for Guido. But that deal he makes with Chiara also ensues with a result that involves and hurts Chiara in eventuality. It's part of the territory for being a cop's kid. Rarely, rarely is that "getting caught in the loop of visceral mire to horrific crime" able to be kept isolated from/ to a cop's offspring. First hand, at that- I've seen it with my brother's kids. It's an issue that is hardly considered and yet quite real. In this one Paola's jokes and work tales are more highly condescending than in any other of the books on top of it. So I can see that although this may NOT be a favorite Brunetti read for many, it actually holds some exact definitive structural core for what Donna Leon is telling us about the governmental levels and the depth of corruption in the authority. But saying that, IMHO, she (the author) is essentially naive. Because that level of power brokerage and political hierarchy determining uneven consequence and corrupt influences perverting bureaucracy - it reigns far, far beyond the levels of Italy. And not just in a few places on this earth. Be they nations or countries or counties. Or departmental cabals. My city is far worse. It's ironic that I kept this read until nearly last out of 25, not purposely either. Mainly it was because it was the one book that was held in the vast library system in the least numbers and with the lowest retention of copy (this book is 20 years old). So it was harder to get on ILL loan. And I DO understand why. This one was dark. Guido the kind policeman actually had to be the John as Guido the Plumber. It didn't feel right- and Venice itself could barely shine this Fall season within such a role play. But it has some excellent quotes and holds a real core of why Guido can and will be strength. Added later, because I realize I omitted something that's important. This also initiates two prime "methods" of the series. I always wondered what Elettra is "giving back" for the information she gets from "friends" in the hacking. Well, this one lets you into that picture completely. And Guido is utterly compliant in writing the "sorry we made a mistake" pay-up letter/letters . And so also in the issue with how he ultimately either controls or confronts Patta when the pressure is coming from above to instigate a blind eye. Guido is perfecting his radar in this book #4; to Patta /Scarpa and the real idiots like Alvise and the other stupido who never relates a completed message or includes a pivotal question when it is essentially needed. HIS DEFENSE ALERT IS THIS- when the morning begins with Patta saying three pleasant or mannerly comments in a row- WATCH OUT. It serves him well.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    These are extremely dark books, and this is one of the darkest. A truck crashes in the mountains near Treviso - the driver is killed, as are several unidentified women being transported from the Balkans. Several murders then occur in Venice, and eventually the web of profit from this modern form of sex slavery and snuff films turns out to be connected to all three of the murders. The murderer...I will not spoil this...the outcome is both satisfying and excruciatingly frustrating. The books are en These are extremely dark books, and this is one of the darkest. A truck crashes in the mountains near Treviso - the driver is killed, as are several unidentified women being transported from the Balkans. Several murders then occur in Venice, and eventually the web of profit from this modern form of sex slavery and snuff films turns out to be connected to all three of the murders. The murderer...I will not spoil this...the outcome is both satisfying and excruciatingly frustrating. The books are enjoyable despite the darkness, because of Guido Brunetti's personality and family life, which in this case is directly connected to the solution of the murders. The city of Venice is a character too, and in an entirely natural way assumes prominence through Guido's eyes, as he takes solace from the beauty of the city and gains strength to pursue the truth, even though the cards of the venal Italian justice system are stacked against him. I cannot think of another series that so seriously and directly addresses issues of morality and justice without becoming preachy or unreadably sombre. This is my second reading of books 2, 3, and 4 in the Brunetti series, and every one has been equally fascinating the second time through. Leon discusses this book in an interview... http://italian-mysteries.com/leon-int... It is one of her favorites because it explores the idea of vigilante justice. Edit, post-Trump, 2017: Leon first published this in 1995. That would have been just after Berlusconi's election. From Wikipedia, just to remind us: "Berlusconi was Prime Minister for nine years in total, making him the longest-serving post-war Prime Minister of Italy, and the third longest-serving since Italian unification, after Benito Mussolini and Giovanni Giolitti. He was the leader of the centre-right party Forza Italia from 1994 to 2009, and its successor party The People of Freedom from 2009 to 2013." However the corruption to which she refers must have gone on for years before 1994: "All, or what seemed like all, of the major political figures who had ruled the country since Brunetti was a child had been named in accusation, named again on different charges, and had even begun to name one another, and yet not one of them had been tried and sentenced, though the coffers of the state had been sucked dry. They'd had their snouts in the public trough for decades, yet nothing seemed strong enough -- not public rage, not an upwelling of national disgust -- to sweep them from power." The English writers whom Paola loves and reads compulsively and teaches to students knew about honour. "But it wasn't important just to them, the writers; their whole society thought some things were important: honour, a person's good name, one's word." Signora Trevisan, wife of the lawyer who is murdered, responding to Brunetti's questions about those responsible for making and distributing the snuff tapes: "They never talked about the tapes. Not really. They just said things, and I understood what they meant." "He didn't bother to contradict her, certain as he was that this was going to become the truth around which her future would be constructed -- to suspect is not to know, and if you don't know, then you aren't responsible, not in any real way, for what happens. His certainty grew so strong that Brunetti's soul sickened with it, and he knew he could no longer stay in the same room with this woman." Reading these books, now, in this time -- I have never before longed for the existence of hell -- but now I do, if only because justice will be possible. Beyond the now, beyond history.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Dorothy

    The political corruption and public moral depravity faced by Commissario Guido Brunetti as he attempts to do his job of maintaining law and order in his beloved city of Venice are utterly disheartening and demoralizing. Even just reading about them is disheartening and demoralizing. The depths to which human beings eagerly sink in order to gratify their desires or to enrich themselves is, quite simply, horrifying. At one time in the not too distant past, I could have read these stories with more The political corruption and public moral depravity faced by Commissario Guido Brunetti as he attempts to do his job of maintaining law and order in his beloved city of Venice are utterly disheartening and demoralizing. Even just reading about them is disheartening and demoralizing. The depths to which human beings eagerly sink in order to gratify their desires or to enrich themselves is, quite simply, horrifying. At one time in the not too distant past, I could have read these stories with more dispassion and objectivity. But today a society's descent into moral turpitude where the rich and powerful are able to befoul the water, air, and soil and to use defenseless fellow human beings in whatever way they choose just hits a bit close to home. Consequently, although I am as charmed as ever by Guido and his family, I found this fourth book in the series difficult reading. The plot revolves around human trafficking. A group of powerful and influential men in Italy are bringing in women from poor countries - mostly Slavic women from eastern European countries - to be used as prostitutes or in pornographic films, including snuff films where the women are brutalized and killed, that are distributed in Europe and America. Typically, the women are promised jobs or love and marriage and a better life to entice them, but once they get to the country, their passports are taken and they are forced to do their "owners'" bidding. All of this, however, is revealed incrementally. We begin with a truck filled with lumber and, as it happens, eight smuggled women, slipping on a snow and ice clogged highway and sliding off the road into a ravine. The driver and all the women are killed. This happens north of Venice and Commissario Brunetti is not involved in the investigation. He is only tangentially aware of it and the entire story soon slips out of the headlines and is essentially forgotten. Sometime later, in Venice, a rich and powerful businessman is shot and killed in a train and Brunetti is assigned to the case. A little later, another businessman dies from carbon monoxide poisoning in his closed garage. The initial autopsy findings show a large dose of barbiturates that would have caused him to be unconscious; then mysteriously, the autopsy findings are altered to support a finding of suicide. Brunetti is still puzzling over his initial case when yet another businessman is killed; this one the brother-in-law of the first who had served as accountant for that man's business. He is shot three times just as the man on the train was. Brunetti suspects that all three deaths are related and begins to probe their lives to try to find a connection and a reason why someone might have wanted the three dead. Brunetti encounters obstacles at every turn, but he has developed his own circle of trusted confidantes, fellow policemen, and persons in positions of power who owe him favors and are willing to find and pass along information to him. He doggedly pursues his investigation, calling on those he trusts for assistance. Obviously, Brunetti has learned to operate in the toxic swill of Venetian politics and survive. This may be the most pessimistic yet of Donna Leon's Brunetti novels and it is certainly the most graphically violent. Leon lives in Venice and one intuits that she has extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the city and what makes it run. One can only hope for the sake of the Venetians that she is exaggerating for dramatic effect.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I really like the entire Commissario Brunetti series because I get to take a break from my normal life and read about fettucine truffle pasta. That said, this is my least favorite book so far. Without giving too much away, the plot of this book revolves around human trafficking and horrific sexual violence against women, which ruins the escapism for me. I just don't like reading books in which sexual violence is a major subplot or plot point, and I avoid them now if possible. However! The first h I really like the entire Commissario Brunetti series because I get to take a break from my normal life and read about fettucine truffle pasta. That said, this is my least favorite book so far. Without giving too much away, the plot of this book revolves around human trafficking and horrific sexual violence against women, which ruins the escapism for me. I just don't like reading books in which sexual violence is a major subplot or plot point, and I avoid them now if possible. However! The first half of this book had some pretty funny moments, and I highlighted a lot more in this installment. It features: - The aforementioned fettucine truffle pasta and a detailed description of the truffle being shaved onto said pasta - Paola describing American literature as "Puritans, cowboys, and strident women" - The very fashionable Signorina Elettra referring to her computer whiz friend as an 'acker' - Many equivalencies between lawyers and whores, mostly because they are notably difficult to obtain client lists from - Brunetti talking to his daughter, Chiara, about a contest to name a penguin at the Rome Zoo ("Spot"? come on Chiara) One thing that was missing in this book was Venice. It was much less of a character here, though this passage did make up for some of that: “We are a pessimistic people, aren’t we?” Brunetti asked. “We once had an empire. Now all we have,” she said, repeating the same gesture, again encompassing the Basilica, the campanile and, below it, Sansovinos Loggetta, “all we have is this Disneyland. I think that’s sufficient cause for pessimism.” Brunetti nodded but said nothing. She hadn’t persuaded him. The moments came rarely, but for him the city’s glory still lived. As I've said before, I appreciate the politicism that Donna Leon brings to her novels - she has some great lines in this one about the Italian tax system - but this particular subject is not one I personally enjoy reading. It may be time for me and my BFF Brunetti to take a break. But I'll be back!!!!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    This is my fourth book of her series and I think I need a break. I love Venice and that is why I first strated reading this but so far, it has just left me very depressed. The main character seems in the end, is always left with very little power and the bad guys just get away with everything. This particular one just left me too sad to continue reading the series for now. The saddest part of all is that there is truth in this fictional book and the atrocities towards women still continues and n This is my fourth book of her series and I think I need a break. I love Venice and that is why I first strated reading this but so far, it has just left me very depressed. The main character seems in the end, is always left with very little power and the bad guys just get away with everything. This particular one just left me too sad to continue reading the series for now. The saddest part of all is that there is truth in this fictional book and the atrocities towards women still continues and nothing is being done about it. Prostitution, snuff films...they would not continue to exist if there was no demand for it. There would be an uprising if there was a film about a black man being tortured and raped but there are none when its a woman. Why do we demand less for women?

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie

    Again these Commissario Brunetti novels are difficult to put down but also very dark and disturbing, especially these last two. I hope that the next one will be less so. In this one I was somewhat disappointed in some poor decisions made by Brunetti which had serious consequences. Also, I found the ending of this one rather dissatisfying.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    A prominent Venetian lawyer is murdered on a train. The case is assigned to Commissario Brunetti. Soon a well-known person in Padua dies of a bullet-wound in his own car. Although the Padua police officially call it a suicide after altering official records, one detective there knows better, confiding in Brunetti. The brother-in-law of the Venetian lawyer who served as his accountant ends up dead too. Meanwhile the phone records of the Venetian and Paduan men points to a connection with bars whe A prominent Venetian lawyer is murdered on a train. The case is assigned to Commissario Brunetti. Soon a well-known person in Padua dies of a bullet-wound in his own car. Although the Padua police officially call it a suicide after altering official records, one detective there knows better, confiding in Brunetti. The brother-in-law of the Venetian lawyer who served as his accountant ends up dead too. Meanwhile the phone records of the Venetian and Paduan men points to a connection with bars where foreign prostitutes work. I'm a bit uncomfortable reading about prostitutes and sex crimes of the nature featured in this novel, but it does show the corruption in Italian law enforcement and government. We get to meet Guido's daughter more in this novel. She attends school with the lawyer's daughter and begins her own investigation and with unfortunate consequences. I listened to the audiobook read by David Colacci who did an excellent job. (3.5 stars)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deb Jones

    Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series can be counted upon for consistency in every way. Her characters are fully fleshed out and believable, descriptions of place are detailed enough to draw a picture but not overdone, and the plots and subplots are well-drawn. Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series can be counted upon for consistency in every way. Her characters are fully fleshed out and believable, descriptions of place are detailed enough to draw a picture but not overdone, and the plots and subplots are well-drawn.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    This mystery will keep your attention. It is an early book from this author's series of mysteries set in Venice. Along with the who-done-it you get social commentary. Donna Leon shows a political world which is not enthusiastic about exposing crime perpetrated by the elite. Detective Brunetti's boss warns him about "stirring up trouble". Skepticism of this world is shown through Detective Brunetti's family. He has his wife try to instill honesty and loyalty in their daughter who doesn't see how th This mystery will keep your attention. It is an early book from this author's series of mysteries set in Venice. Along with the who-done-it you get social commentary. Donna Leon shows a political world which is not enthusiastic about exposing crime perpetrated by the elite. Detective Brunetti's boss warns him about "stirring up trouble". Skepticism of this world is shown through Detective Brunetti's family. He has his wife try to instill honesty and loyalty in their daughter who doesn't see how this fits in the world she sees. It is interesting, if this is how it is (or was in 1990's Venice) how much suspects and witnesses would tell the police without lawyers. Short and entertaining. Not sure how realistic this could be.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Eric_W

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Commissario Brunetti, a regular readers of Rarebits, will remember, is the creation of Donna Leon. He's stubbornly honest in an Italian society that is portrayed as rife with criminal behavior, a country so overwhelmed by new laws that are enacted one day only to be repealed the next, that the distinction between what is wrong and what is criminal is often nebulous. Paula, Brunetti's professor of English spouse and delightfully moral character, issues stern reminders to Brunetti of the differenc Commissario Brunetti, a regular readers of Rarebits, will remember, is the creation of Donna Leon. He's stubbornly honest in an Italian society that is portrayed as rife with criminal behavior, a country so overwhelmed by new laws that are enacted one day only to be repealed the next, that the distinction between what is wrong and what is criminal is often nebulous. Paula, Brunetti's professor of English spouse and delightfully moral character, issues stern reminders to Brunetti of the difference and their conversations are priceless. Brunetti is a complex man who has an engaging wit, a rapiersharp mind, and strong love for his family. Constantly under pressure from his superiors to ignore crimes that involve the elite, in this case his metal is tested. A well-known lawyer, Carlo Trevisan, is discovered shot to death on the train from Padua to Venice. Initially written off as a robbery gone bad, Brunetti has his doubts and when an accountant from a respected firm is found dead, ostensibly of his own hand but with Trevisan's phone number in his book and substantial amounts of a barbiturate in his bloodstream, Brunetti's crap detector goes into overdrive. Soon the links to a bizarre truck accident in the mountains where many young women are found dead, crushed by a load of lumber, fall into place, and Brunetti discovers a large web of international prostitution involving highly influential citizens of Venice. As the investigation proceeds, Brunetti learns that more than prostitution is involved. He discovers that a series of tapes was being commissioned and sold by the dead men that had shown the rape and killing of women in Croatia by Serb soldiers. A pair of mislaid and forgotten expensive reading glasses leads Brunetti to a travel agent, a former prostitute who had been in league with the men in supplying girls from other countries. She was the murderer, she admits to Brunetti, disgusted by her colleagues enjoyment in watching the rapes and brutal murders of the women, not because of the deaths -- after all the women would have died eventually anyway. She reveals that other very important men were involved in the extremely profitable business and knows that she will be killed. Brunetti arrests her, insists she be guarded, but is horrified to learn the next morning that she had been taken to Padua by order of the Ministry of Justice and special branch police. How had they learned so quickly of the arrest when Brunetti had made ever effort to keep it secret? This is an outstanding novel. Leon, who has lived in Italy for many years (like Paula, a professor of English), provides a jaundiced view of daily Italian life where the only safe procedure for a patient in an Italian hospital is the autopsy, and train strikes are a regular occurrence, and corruption exists at every level of society. She clearly worries about the effects of corruption on the moral fiber of that society and what it does to its members

  14. 5 out of 5

    LJ

    DEATH AND JUDGMENT (aka A Venetian Reckoning) (Police Proc-Venice-Cont) – VG Leon, Donna – 4th in series Penguin, 1995 – Paperback *** Commissario Guido Brunetti’s newest case is the murder of a prominent international lawyer. As he investigates, a link is found between this murder and the murder of an accountant being investigated by a colleague in Padua. These two threads tie back to an winter accident with a truck going off an icy road resulting in the death of several woman without identificati DEATH AND JUDGMENT (aka A Venetian Reckoning) (Police Proc-Venice-Cont) – VG Leon, Donna – 4th in series Penguin, 1995 – Paperback *** Commissario Guido Brunetti’s newest case is the murder of a prominent international lawyer. As he investigates, a link is found between this murder and the murder of an accountant being investigated by a colleague in Padua. These two threads tie back to an winter accident with a truck going off an icy road resulting in the death of several woman without identification. *** This is a very well written story of corruption, power and greed. Brunetti is a wonderfully refreshing character; a loyal husband, caring father and respected policeman who loves his city. The humor, relationships and emotions, however, are realistic and not saccharine. The secondary characters are dimensional and interesting. Leon is a wonderful writer who brings Venice to life but doesn’t spare on its problems. Although I thought I knew where the story was going, I found myself surprised and the ending depressingly realistic. For those of us who read for character but like good plots as well, I highly recommend this book and series.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    A particularly sad, sordid and brutal journey for Commissario Guido Brunetti. One wonders how he (and Ms. Leon) manage to preserve their decency and dignity in the face of it. But perhaps that is part of what keeps us reading: hope in our hero-detective, who in preserving himself, helps us to preserve ourselves.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Pete

    i'm 100 percent in control of this situation and can stop reading these books at any time brunetti exploring the rage-dad space a little here. gets pretty pretty TV-MA when the videotape thing happens. it's hard to contextualize the lower case p politics of these books because when they came out i was 15 and lost in final fantasy VII. so i dont know if the poetic urgency of gender revenge was on trend then or what. still satisfying for evil penis-owners to get killed in 2020, so viva le differenc i'm 100 percent in control of this situation and can stop reading these books at any time brunetti exploring the rage-dad space a little here. gets pretty pretty TV-MA when the videotape thing happens. it's hard to contextualize the lower case p politics of these books because when they came out i was 15 and lost in final fantasy VII. so i dont know if the poetic urgency of gender revenge was on trend then or what. still satisfying for evil penis-owners to get killed in 2020, so viva le difference or whatever you say in veneziano

  17. 5 out of 5

    Larraine

    I was nearly finished this book when I came to a scene that was so familiar that I wondered if I had actually read the book before and just forgot it. However, it turns out that I had seen this on the German made Brunetti series and realized how close that series really is to the books. This book, written in 1995, reflect the author's realistic embrace of Venice and Italy. Her books detail the famous corruption that goes to the highest reaches of government and industry. However, in my opinion, I was nearly finished this book when I came to a scene that was so familiar that I wondered if I had actually read the book before and just forgot it. However, it turns out that I had seen this on the German made Brunetti series and realized how close that series really is to the books. This book, written in 1995, reflect the author's realistic embrace of Venice and Italy. Her books detail the famous corruption that goes to the highest reaches of government and industry. However, in my opinion, the idea that Italy and other Mediterranean countries are especially corrupt is naive. This book talks about snuff movies and the sex trade, both of which are epidemic and, in my opinion, would be found in some surprising places right here in the USA. The book opens with a truck accident that results in bodies of women found on the side of the mountain where the truck tumbled down. The bill of lading in the truck stated there was lumber which there was. There also were women. When an important Venetian citizen is murdered, Brunetti is assigned to investigate & is cautioned by his slimy superior, Patta, not to make too many waves while he is doing it. then a business associate of the murdered man, an accountant from nearby Padua, is also murdered. Brunetti's daughter convinces her father to pay her to learn some things about the daughter of the murdered man which results in the daughter giving her a tape which turns out to be a horrific snuff film. That's when Brunetti realizes that there is far more to this case than he realized. Once again, there are no happy endings, but that's probably much more realistic.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Ed

    It's been almost two years since I read the 3rd installment of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series. On finishing that book, I wavered on continuing on with the series and ended my review that it was a "definite maybe." So I was true to that promise. The time span certainly suggests there was not a strong pull to continue on, but alas when I was looking (needing!) a quick knock-off read, Death and Judgment did pop to mind. While pretty formulaic from the get-go it was enjoyable enough, it was It's been almost two years since I read the 3rd installment of Donna Leon's Commissario Brunetti series. On finishing that book, I wavered on continuing on with the series and ended my review that it was a "definite maybe." So I was true to that promise. The time span certainly suggests there was not a strong pull to continue on, but alas when I was looking (needing!) a quick knock-off read, Death and Judgment did pop to mind. While pretty formulaic from the get-go it was enjoyable enough, it was the diversion I was looking for, and I have always liked protagonist Guido. But before too long, my initial burst of enthusiasm flagged and things got a bit repetitive and I found myself not really caring about how the mystery was resolved. Much like Venice itself, it's all a bit too circuitous, wrong turns, etc. -- but then you turn an abrupt turn of a corner and you unexpectedly (and conveniently) arrive at the destination. My final quibble is that didn't seem to be nearly enough of Venice, which is a big appeal/selling point to read these books. I am likely being too hard on this book/series, but alas feel even more unlikely to continue on with the series than last time -- but never say never, the appeal of Venice is never to be underestimated, nor Commissario Brunetti.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Berit☀️✨

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I have not read a book in the series in quite a while. I think this is probably one of the earliest books that I have read. It had a bit of a darker tone to it then later books. There wasn't as much food either, although there is still the environmental issues. I did miss the food, not going to lie. Having said that, I do like a police procedural, And I really enjoy Commasori Brunetti.this was definitely not an escape to Venice Book, it was a book about sex trafficking and crime solving that too I have not read a book in the series in quite a while. I think this is probably one of the earliest books that I have read. It had a bit of a darker tone to it then later books. There wasn't as much food either, although there is still the environmental issues. I did miss the food, not going to lie. Having said that, I do like a police procedural, And I really enjoy Commasori Brunetti.this was definitely not an escape to Venice Book, it was a book about sex trafficking and crime solving that took place in Venice.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vicki Kondelik

    Death and Judgment is the fourth in Donna Leon’s popular mystery series set in Venice, featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. It begins with a truck crashing in the mountains of northern Italy near the Austrian border. The truck is carrying eight young women, who die in the crash. Then a prominent Venetian lawyer is shot to death on the train from Padua to Venice. Obviously, there is a connection between these two events, but we do not know what it is at first. Of course, Brunetti figures it out, Death and Judgment is the fourth in Donna Leon’s popular mystery series set in Venice, featuring Commissario Guido Brunetti. It begins with a truck crashing in the mountains of northern Italy near the Austrian border. The truck is carrying eight young women, who die in the crash. Then a prominent Venetian lawyer is shot to death on the train from Padua to Venice. Obviously, there is a connection between these two events, but we do not know what it is at first. Of course, Brunetti figures it out, but not before two more deaths occur. An accountant from Padua dies in an apparent suicide, and the murdered lawyer’s brother-in-law is also shot. At first Brunetti suspects the lawyer’s new partner, a Sicilian with possible ties to the Mafia, because he inherits the firm and he is having an affair with the dead man’s wife. But Brunetti soon figures out that something else is going on. His investigation leads him to the dark, horrifying world of human trafficking, prostitution, and the pornographic film industry. Leon provides a sharp contrast between the grim world that Brunetti investigates and his loving family life with his wife Paola, a professor of English literature and gourmet cook, and his precocious teenage daughter Chiara. Many of the most compelling scenes in Death and Judgment are between Brunetti and Chiara. It turns out that Chiara knows the murdered lawyer’s daughter, Francesca, from school, so she decides to do some investigating on her own. She questions Francesca about who would have wanted to murder her father, as well as some classmates who know Francesca better than she does. Paola is not thrilled to have Chiara involved in the case, but Brunetti is proud of his daughter, who definitely shows signs of following in her father’s footsteps. As always, Leon draws you into the everyday life of Venice and makes you want to go there. We do not see much of Paola’s delicious meals this time, but there is a scene where characters eat a mouthwatering-sounding fettucine with truffles at a restaurant. In Leon’s novels, the villains do not always get what they deserve, because they have friends in high places. I am not going to give away whether or not that is the case in this one, though. The subject matter, of human trafficking and forced prostitution, is all too contemporary, even though this novel was written in 1995. I highly recommend this book, even though it might not be the best one with which to start the series. The first in the series is Death at La Fenice. Also, readers should be aware that some of Leon’s books have different titles in the British and American editions. Death and Judgment has the title A Venetian Reckoning in the British edition.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Dolf Patijn

    All the books I've read so far in the series, have a nice mix of crime, the personal life of Brunetti and the food and drink he enjoys. The city of Venice is not just a backdrop but almost another character in the books. Most of the crimes have one thing in common: corruption that goes all the way to the top of Italian and Venetian society and politics and the police force is also infected. I understand that Donna Leon didn't want her books to be translated into Italian and I'm not surprised. It All the books I've read so far in the series, have a nice mix of crime, the personal life of Brunetti and the food and drink he enjoys. The city of Venice is not just a backdrop but almost another character in the books. Most of the crimes have one thing in common: corruption that goes all the way to the top of Italian and Venetian society and politics and the police force is also infected. I understand that Donna Leon didn't want her books to be translated into Italian and I'm not surprised. It might have made it harder for her to live in Italy. She now lives in Zürich, Switzerland for as far as I know. One of the things that make her books quite believable is that the cases are often solved but the people behind the crimes often get away with it. Bargains are struck, evidence disappears: it is a constant struggle for Commissario Brunetti who also has to bend the rules sometimes to get results. It is admirable that he keeps going and is not too much affected by all the corruption around him. This book, book 4 in the series, is about murder, corruption, prostitution and something far more sinister. It is just as good as the others and I'm looking forward to the next one.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Rodica

    Wow. I didn’t give this book a rating. I don’t know how to rate it. It was grim, I think the grimmest so far. It was painful. The plight of human trafficking, of women being tricked into prostitution reminds me of the stories I used to hear as a child in a post-soviet country. About women taken illegally to Italy or Spain, promised jobs and forced to become prostitutes. Left no choice, without a passport and without knowing the language, the laws or the customs. From time to time, a story of suc Wow. I didn’t give this book a rating. I don’t know how to rate it. It was grim, I think the grimmest so far. It was painful. The plight of human trafficking, of women being tricked into prostitution reminds me of the stories I used to hear as a child in a post-soviet country. About women taken illegally to Italy or Spain, promised jobs and forced to become prostitutes. Left no choice, without a passport and without knowing the language, the laws or the customs. From time to time, a story of such a victim would be published by a newspaper, a story of how she escaped and managed to return home. Many never did. Then, there are the war crimes committed during the Yugoslavian war. I spent over 4 years in Montenegro and worked with people from all over ex-Yugoslavia. People found it very traumatizing to speak about it. About neighbor turning on neighbor, friend on friend. I don’t know if the plot is based on a real story, but it serves well to depict endemic corruption and organized crime spread through state institution like a plague. As you can see, the book affected me. But I can’t rate it. It felt rushed. The characters were underused. And (spoiler alert), while the killer dies in the end, you know justice was not served. You root for the killer to escape, you want Brunetti to get more time with the killer and with this story. You want more Paola and the children, as they usually are the normalizing element, the people that bring Brunetti back to normalcy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    More like a 3.5 rating. I find it comforting to read about exotic destinations when I can't travel. This series takes place in Venice and usually includes lovely details of food, insights from Venetian citizens, and atmospheric descriptions of life in an historic water-filled city. Regretfully, this book in the Inspector Brunetti series doesn't include much of the above. Also, the crime being investigated involves prostitution, sex-trafficking, and graphic videos. Definitely dark and hard to read. More like a 3.5 rating. I find it comforting to read about exotic destinations when I can't travel. This series takes place in Venice and usually includes lovely details of food, insights from Venetian citizens, and atmospheric descriptions of life in an historic water-filled city. Regretfully, this book in the Inspector Brunetti series doesn't include much of the above. Also, the crime being investigated involves prostitution, sex-trafficking, and graphic videos. Definitely dark and hard to read. But I love the recurring characters and the sense of place that Donna Leon creates and I'll definitely keep reading about the beloved Commissario and his city. This one isn't one of the better books, though.

  24. 4 out of 5

    lilias

    I’ve read most of Donna Leon’s books, so it was interesting to go all the way back to the early years with this one. That Brunetti’s least liked colleagues and least likable colleagues are Sicilian have always given me pause. But in this book, we find out that Vianello, Brunetti’s friend, ally, and confidant at the Questura, is a supporter of Lega pushes that pause into full blown ick that contaminates the rest of the book. I’ve never read anything addressing this theme in Leon’s books, so maybe I’ve read most of Donna Leon’s books, so it was interesting to go all the way back to the early years with this one. That Brunetti’s least liked colleagues and least likable colleagues are Sicilian have always given me pause. But in this book, we find out that Vianello, Brunetti’s friend, ally, and confidant at the Questura, is a supporter of Lega pushes that pause into full blown ick that contaminates the rest of the book. I’ve never read anything addressing this theme in Leon’s books, so maybe it’s just a feeling I have. Otherwise, this is a sad and dark mystery, the kind I really like.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Jaret

    Donna Leon starts the roller coaster ride right from the beginning in this novel. This is the first book I've read in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series, but it won't be my last. The action carried through most of the book. There were very few parts that dragged and even those moved quickly. The content of this novel is tough to read, so be aware if you have triggers. Donna Leon starts the roller coaster ride right from the beginning in this novel. This is the first book I've read in the Commissario Guido Brunetti series, but it won't be my last. The action carried through most of the book. There were very few parts that dragged and even those moved quickly. The content of this novel is tough to read, so be aware if you have triggers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    Solid entry in this series, but only read it if you're ready to admit there is no justice in this world. The book is 20 years old, and the problems it discusses have only gotten worse. The rich get richer and the long arm of the law assists them. And the poor? Who the hell cares. :( Solid entry in this series, but only read it if you're ready to admit there is no justice in this world. The book is 20 years old, and the problems it discusses have only gotten worse. The rich get richer and the long arm of the law assists them. And the poor? Who the hell cares. :(

  27. 5 out of 5

    John R. Goyer

    Early in the series but the style and characters seem well in place. This is a very good mystery involving corruption at high levels, and some good ethical/moral issues to think about. A great writer of satisfying but bleak stories that ring so true...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Brunetti does it again with his quiet subtle investigations and chats. Good, but you can't read too many of this series as the settings and Brunetti's routines and family situation are much the same in each book. Brunetti does it again with his quiet subtle investigations and chats. Good, but you can't read too many of this series as the settings and Brunetti's routines and family situation are much the same in each book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bookjazzer2010

    3.5 Very dark. Sex trafficking is difficult to read about. I may need to look for something a little lighter for my next book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Thea

    I really like this series. Every book has a moral to it and makes you think about our world and what is happening in it.

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