Some of Jeffrey Siger's mysteries expose the underside of Greek life and politics. Although there are some political elements to his latest novel, Sons of Sparta, this is a story that emphasizes Greek family life and connections. And, for a change, the emphasis is not on Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis. His assistant, Detective Yianni Kouros, is the focus of a family story with a legendary past.
Kouros' family has a violent, criminal past in the mountainous Peloponnese where the people, the Mani, say they are descendants of the ancient warriors, the Spartans. The Mani have a history as pirates, highwaymen, and warriors. But, they may be best known for the blood feuds, the vendettas against other families. And, when Kouros' uncle, the shrewd head of the family, and a retired criminal, dies unexpectedly before he can sign the paperwork for a lucrative deal, Kouros fears his cousins will start a war to avenge his death. And, Kouros, an honest cop, knows that family supports family. Kaldis may be caught up in an investigation involving land deals in Crete, but he certainly doesn't want powerful families going to war in the Peloponnese.
With Siger's insider's knowledge of Greece, his mysteries are always fascinating exposés of life, crime, and politics. Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis, along with Kouros, and Kaldis' best friend and mentor, Tassos Stamatos, are a formidable team. They are shrewd, powerful men who work the system beautifully, pulling strings while manipulating criminals and crooked politicians to provide answers. This triumvirate actually only yields to the women in their lives, Kaldis' wife, and Tassos' girlfriend, Maggie, who is also Andreas' secretary, office manager, and the most powerful behind-the-scenes person in the police department.
Siger always manages to beautifully combine a police procedural with some of that black humor that allows police to get through the daily grind of dealing with corruption and crime. Although he's been known to almost predict the next Greek crisis, in this case, Siger's story of crime and corruption has a much more personal angle. The story of the Mani, descendants of the Spartans, and those formidable Spartan mothers, is a fascinating story of lawlessness and revenge. Siger's Sons of Sparta brings that story into the twenty-first century with a powerful mystery of family, murder, and vengeance.
Jeffrey Siger's website is www.jeffreysiger.com, and he can also be found at www.murderiseverywhere.blogspot.com.
Sons of Sparta by Jeffrey Siger. Poisoned Pen Press. 2014. ISBN 9781464203145 (hardcover), 254p. (Also available as trade paperback, large print, and ebook)
FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.