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Siger, Jeffrey - 'Assassins of Athens'
Paperback: 352 pages (Dec. 2010) Publisher: Piatkus Books ISBN: 0749952261

The second story from this exciting new American author, opens with the discovery of the body of a young boy that is found in a rubbish skip in the middle of one of Athen's grimmest neighbourhoods. Shocked concern spreads through the entire capital when he is identified as coming from one of Greece's most prominent and affluent families. It falls to Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis, the astute head of the Special Crimes Division, to uncover the secrets of this murderer and try to establish what message he trying to send...

On his quest for the truth, Andreas must penetrate the glamorous world of Athenian high society and also its degraded criminal part. To accomplish this he deliberately befriends Mrs Lila Vardis, a wealthy establishment widow who spends most of her time organising charity art functions but is pleased to help him. They are of a similar age and Andreas discovers that the people he suspects are involved in the terrible crimes have second homes in Mykonos where he was previously posted and knows well. He decides to go on an exploratory tour over there and she invites herself along and they end up touring various restaurants and discussing the case before ultimately spending the night together.

The young man, Sotiris Kostopoulos that was murdered and left in the skip, had the night before been with two friends of similar teenage years in a loud disreputable disco, where he had noticed that a beautiful, voluptuous, young girl accompanied by two bodyguards had sat down at the next table. Immediately, he had felt a deep attraction and had attempted to talk to her; she appeared pleased with his overtures and indicated that they should go out the back of the club. He was never seen alive again.

Andreas discovers there is a definite resentment between the classes of Greek society with old money, perhaps wrapped up in expensive property and the nouveaux riches. Some of the newcomers just believe they can make bigger and bigger offers with money and the old established people will grab the currency and run. But some people won't change their way of doing things just for more capital. To exploit this problem it seems that in the recent past in Greek society, certain nouveaux riches or even gangsters have killed a child or other person in a particular family and almost immediately and overnight, the rest of the family has left the country. Andreas discovers that this has happened at least three times before and he must try to stop it happening this time.

ASSASSINS OF ATHENS is another fast, page-turning, police procedural, from Jeffrey Siger, an ex-Wall Street lawyer who now writes full time and lives among the people of his beloved Mykonos, his adopted home, and is a most enjoyable book. This well plotted story just speeds along and captures very vividly the Greek way of life when we can just imagine how difficult it must be to find the time to coolly think and identify the facts and other leads when it's so hot and humid that it is sometimes hard to breathe. Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis is a superb creation and I look forward to reading his next adventure, due to be published in paperback this month under the UK title of AN AEGEAN PROPHECY, and in the USA as PREY ON PATMOS.

Terry Halligan, England
January 2011

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 15/01/2011 13:31