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Review: Mykonos After Midnight by Jeffrey Siger
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The Aegean island of Mykonos with its whitewashed architecture and breathtaking sea vistas is a summertime playground for the world's rich. It's also a magnet for opportunists seeking to take advantage of Greece's desperate financial condition and corrupt government. When a nightclub owner is found bludgeoned to death in his own home, Andreas Kaldis, head of Greece's special crimes division, suspects there's more to the murder than robbery. His investigations make him and his colleagues the target of a secret international cartel bent on muscling its way onto the island whatever the cost.

Mykonos After Midnight is the fifth mystery featuring Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis and here I must pause to make a disclosure: Jeffrey Siger is a Poisoned Pen Press author and, no, I would never post a bad review of a fellow PPP author's book. On the other hand I wouldn't post a good review for a book I didn't like. I simply wouldn't mention reading it. So now that's out of the way I will say that although I haven't read the previous entries in the series, I liked Mykonos After Midnight a lot. But (second disclosure) it also took me by surprise.

I've always thought of PPP as primarily a publisher of more or less cozy whodunnits. (Drive by James Sallis notwithstanding) However Mykonos After Midnight is a thriller, complete with plenty of off-color dialogue, violence and sex. (All that good stuff which won't fit into Byzantine historical mysteries...) We know know who the villains are, and what they are up to, and are left to hope that Kaldis can figure it all out in time.

At many points his task seems impossible. The environment he's working in is nightmarish. It's been said that local government in the United States is essentially a real estate scheme and that's certainly true of Mykonos. From powerful business owners, down to their toadies and up to the politicians they bribe, everyone's chasing the euros (I guess it is still euros?) and no one can be trusted by anyone else.

There are three major villains -- a young, calculating, cold-blooded Russian with huge ambitions, a colorful local sleazeball and a mysterious, International criminal Queenpin -- all fascinating, not to mention murderous thugs and greedy, spineless government ministers. In Greece these days, it's bad guys all the way down.

I love exotic locales and noir and Mykonos After Midnight delivers both. In the city and the picturesque countryside some people are trying to maintain their traditional way of life, while others cater to the anything-goes nightlife that attracts the tourists. By day Mykonos is a vision of Paradise but after midnight it's more like the Inferno.

So now I ought to come up with some snappy summation but, frankly, I find reviews hard to write and I'm just plain tuckered out trying to give an impression of the book without revealing big gobs of plot.

I should point out that Jeffrey Siger knows Greece, since he lives there most of the time. I suppose he's in the states about now to do some promotion. If what he says about Greece is true, I'd be afraid to go back!

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