Sunday, January 17, 2010

"Murder in Mykonos"

Jeffrey Siger was a New York lawyer -- litigating high-stakes society scandals and other delicate public and private matters of domestic and international consequence -- until giving it all up to write full-time among the people, life, and politics of his beloved Mykonos, and spearfish in its Aegean waters.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Murder in Mykonos, and reported the following:
On tour for Murder in Mykonos, a #1 best selling English-language book in Greece, a best-seller in many US markets, and picked by several reviewers as among the best books of 2009, I at times adhered to the classic Ford Madox Ford adage, “Open any book [in this case mine] to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole work will be revealed to you.” Now, thanks to “The Page 69 Test,” I have an option.

Murder in Mykonos
is the debut novel in my Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series from Poisoned Pen Press, and page 69 captures a sense of the 24/7 party ambiance one can expect to find on that legendary Greek island paradise—and a bit of the edge to suggest why when a young woman tourist disappears from the face of the earth no one notices. That is, until a body turns up on a pile of bones under the floor of a remote mountain church, and the island’s new police chief—the young, politically incorrect, former Athens homicide detective Andreas Kaldis—starts finding bodies, bones, and suspects almost everywhere he looks. Killings aren’t supposed to happen in tourist paradise. It’s Greece’s most unimaginable nightmare—one no politician wants to confront.

Just when it seems things can’t get any worse, another young woman disappears and political niceties no longer matter. With the investigation now a rescue operation, Andreas finds himself plunging into ancient myths and forgotten island places toward a shattering conclusion in a race against a killer with a missionary-like zeal to carry out his plan for her murder.

But wait, there’s more. The sequel, Assassins of Athens, just was released and in a starred review from Booklist is described as “international police procedural writing at its best.” When I apply my now most-favored Page 69 Test to Assassins of Athens, all I can say is, “BINGO!”
Page 69:


The man at the end of the bar extended his hand, “My name is Panos and welcome to Panos’ Place—the best place in all of Mykonos for making friends.” A small crowd of middle-aged men around him parted as she moved toward the empty stool to his left.

“Thank you.” She was about to add “sir” but caught herself. She sensed he’d be insulted if a young woman treated him with the respect due an elder.

“Would you like something to drink?” He waved to a very hot-looking young Greek behind the bar. He was about her age, tall with dark hair, dark eyes, a dark, well-toned body—she pulled her eyes off him. No need to inflame her need any further, especially since she was about to start drinking.

“As …” She caught herself about to say “aspr√≥ kras√≠”—“white wine” in Greek—“my friends back home would say, ‘Wine would be fine’—white please.”

“And where’s home?” Panos’ piercing blue eyes didn’t fit his trusty, hound-dog face. His hair seemed just as confusedly located. Pirate-style, cascading dark brown curls should not share the same head with bushy, salt-and-pepper eyebrows and a drooping, even grayer, walrus mustache. Overall, Annika saw walrus.

“The Netherlands.”

The men around them had been quietly listening but now exploded in Greek.
Learn more about the book and author at Jeffrey Siger's website.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue