On another discussion today, I made a reference to Jeff Siger’s ASSASSINS OF ATHENS. People who drop into Murder By Type should give themselves a treat and read this book.
ASSASSINS OF ATHENS – Jeffrey Siger
Jeffrey Siger’s ASSASSINS OF ATHENS opens with the discovery of the body of a teenage male in a dumpster in one of the worst sections of Athens. Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis of the Greek Police’s Special Crimes Division, first met in MURDER IN MYKONOS, quickly realizes that this case is bigger than most. The boy is the son of Zanni Kostopoulos, one of the most influential men in the country. Kostopoulos is nouveau riche, a description that makes him anathema to the established Greek families who dominate the peak of society. He has returned from family exile in one of the countries that had made up the Soviet bloc and, upon his return, has made a considerable fortune in Greece. Old money fears new money and the newly wealthy have little to lose in going up against the establishment.
Zanni decides he needs to make the Kostopoulos name one to be reckoned with so he decides to gain control of The Athenian, the most prominent newspaper in the city. The Linardos family has controlled the paper for generations and Zanni does everything in his power to destroy the Linardos family to get what he wants. He begins by feeding other newspapers the Linardos family secrets and thinks he has won when a particularly graphic cell phone recording of Sarantis Linardos’s granddaughter ends up on the web. Kostopoulos is determined to destroy the Linardos family so Sarantis, the patriarch, turns to friends to guarantee that it will be Kostopoulos who will be destroyed.
This is the background to a story that brings into play wealth, position, long-held grudges, jealousy, murder, and the practices of ancient Athens, seemingly lost in time. There is kidnapping, murder, exploitation, and the willingness of people to uses whatever means money can buy to destroy an enemy. There is help from Tassos Stamatos, the homicide detective readers met in MURDER IN MYKONOS. And there is a woman who is of particular interest to Kaldis.
As he investigates, Kaldis discovers that Sotiros Kostopoulos is not the first member of a prominent family to die. Other wealthy Greek families have left the country, banished as was the practice in ancient Greece. Their enemies have no respect for age so it is the young, the children, who are their target.
ASSASSINS OF ATHENS is more than an alliterative title. Athens, the cradle of democracy, is being assassinated by powerful people who want a return to oligarchy, government by the few, the wealthy and powerful, to the detriment of the many.