Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Santorini Caesars by Jeffrey Siger

Even if you've never been to Greece (and I haven't), Jeffrey Siger takes you there in his Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis mysteries. It's Greece with all it's beauty, political corruption, conspiracy, and crime. This year, we're off to the islands in Santorini Caesars, just as intricately plotted, but with maybe a little more humor than previous books.

It's not unusual for student demonstrators to escape back to the sanctity of the university when pursued by the cops, but when one demonstrator is taken out by two precision shots, Andreas Kaldis recognizes it as an assassination. Someone wants to send a message. It's part of Kaldis' job as head of Special Crimes to track down the reasons for that message. But, he never loses sight of the first clue. A young person was killed, and parents lost their child.

As Kaldis searches for answers, one clue leads to the beautiful island of Santorini and a secret gathering of high-ranking military. Kaldis' team is soon on the scene, hiding and blending in to eavesdrop on the meeting. Who would bring together such a group unless they were planning to overthrow the current government? Who would use a student as a pawn in their game?

Siger, a lawyer who quit his practice to move to Greece and write, observes the politics and ongoing changes in the country with a keen eye. His novels recognize the problems of the worldwide immigration crisis and the resulting hatred, political calculations and corruption, the economic issues in Greece. At the same time, Kaldis and his small team portray good people fighting a tough battle. It's always a pleasure to see the return of Kaldis and his wife, Lila, his right-hand man, Yianni Kouros, his astute secretary, Maggie, and Cyclades Chief Homicide Inspector Tassos Stamato, This time, so much of the humor in the book comes from the small team sent to Santorini, led by Petra, who soon falls for the beauty of more than the island. The humor in these books is reason enough to return to the stories about Andreas Kaldis.

For much of this current book, Andreas Kaldis is a guiding figure in Athens while Petra's team does the grunt work on the ground. Siger's latest book portrays Kaldis as a heroic father figure, both to his small son, Tassaki, in a troubling scene, and to his team. It's a time of trouble, turmoil in Greece., and the world. Jeffrey Siger's books may be set in Greece, but they deal with the world's problems as well, and the international community is a part of Greece's problems and turmoil. Siger's Santorini Caesars recognizes that someone needs to care, about the dead, the immigrants, the country. It's a message to the world, and to Greece, in the concluding words of the book. "He wondered if anyone cared. Andreas did. He had to. Someone had to. Andreas bowed his head. Xronia polla."

Jeffrey Siger's website is

Santorini Caesars by Jeffrey Siger. Poisoned Pen Press. 2016. ISBN 9781464206016 (hardcover), 304p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publicist sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Since a friend recommended these to me two years ago, I've caught up with the previous books and gotten up to date, with this one on hold. I like the regular characters, and I like how each book is set in a different part of Greece (Mykonos, Athens, Patmos, Timos, Sparta, Delphi, now Santorini. It reminds me in that way of Archer Mayor's series, which moves to a different area of Vermont in each new book. It's a great way of keeping a regional series fresh.

Lesa said...

It is, Jeff, without having to kill everyone off in an entire town - Cabot Cove syndrome. Although with Athens as the central location, it might have taken a little longer to get there. I agree with you. And, not having been to Greece, I like to "see" each area.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Me too!

One of my only problems with Linda Castillo's excellent series is, there are an awful lot of Amish families being massacred in Northeastern Ohio!

Lesa said...

At least she moved this one to upstate New York, Jeff. Yes, you're right.

Jeffrey Siger said...

This thread made me smile at your respective insights! After I'd written the first in the series, "Murder in Mykonos," from its great reception I knew I must turn it into a series. HOWEVER, I also thought if I kept it based on Mykonos I would soon be killing off much of the population, which wouldn't make me very popular with my local friends :). That's how Andreas came to be back in Athens in a position that has him and his crew traveling all over Greece!

Lesa said...

Andreas' headquarters in Athens, with investigations all over Greece probably made the books more popular in Greece as well, Jeff. It works!