Sons of Sparta
By Jeffrey Siger
Special Crimes Division detective Yianni Kouros has been called from Athens by his uncle for what could mean his family is in trouble. Returning to the region of his family on the tip of Peloponnese Island, Kouros reminisces about the time he spent with his family in Mani.
Unfortunately, his uncle isn’t a squeaky clean citizen. Kouros’ father was sent to Athens while Uncle stayed at the family home barely making ends meet. Life was not easy for his family, but the tide turned when he began to reap the benefits of a side business consisting of “piracy and banditry”. Uncle claims to be retired from that life and Kouros would like to believe him. Unfortunately, his uncle and cousins are embedded in the old world culture of revenge and even murder when the family has been wronged.
His uncle has gathered his children and Kouros to tell them he has decided to sell of part of the family property to a developer. A golf course, hotel and air strip will replace the land used by the family for many generations. Uncle feels this will be better for his children after he is gone, as the money it brings in will give them all a comfortable life. But before the paperwork can be signed with the hotel developer, Uncle dies in a car accident.
Kouros is suspicious, so he quietly starts to investigate the death and finds there are more questions than answers. Calling in a favor from a co-worker, he finds his suspicions are warranted when the evidence shows Uncle was murdered.
Trying to keep the crime quiet and investigate it at the same time is not easy. When his cousins find out, they are literally gunning for the person that killed their father.
The case isn’t as simple as that. It involves illicit affairs, double crossing crooks and long lost love. As hard is Kouros tried to keep his investigation quiet, his boss Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis catches wind of the problems and becomes part of the investigation. The two men work feverously to find the killer before anyone else dies.
This is the sixth book in Siger’s Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Mystery series. The plot was solid, twisting and turning to the end while leaving little breadcrumbs of clues throughout to lead the reader to the killer. There were believable surprises and an interesting love triangle.
I hesitate to say this reads well as a stand-alone novel. It was a good story, with good characters, but a bit confusing. There is a very fine line between adding too much back story and not enough. For me there wasn’t enough. I kept going back to the beginning chapters to figure out the characters until I was about half way through the book, part of that could be the Greek names were difficult for me to remember with so many characters being introduced.
Sadly I am not well read when it comes to Greek Mythology, so most of the references were lost on me. That is certainly not the author’s fault. Siger painted a picture of a beautiful region of Greece. It was a perfect setting for the juxtaposition of the warring clans with vendettas and the bucolic countryside filled with Greek traditions.
Siger is a gifted writer, he allows the reader to step out of their life and travel to Greece. I would suggest starting with the first book in his series, and then read all of them up to Sons of Sparta. If you want to jump in feet first into a good mystery with interesting characters go ahead and start with Sons of Sparta.
Copyright © 2015 Laura Hartman
DISCLOSURE OF MATERIAL CONNECTION: I have a material connection because I received a review copy that I can keep for consideration in preparing to write this content. I was not expected to return this item after my review.