Review: Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger

Andreas Kildis has a new job as chief of Police on the Greek Island of Mykonos. He’s not particularly happy with his promotion as it has, he believes, taken him away from the action in Athens. However, soon after he arrives he is called to one of the island’s many churches where the body of a young woman has been discovered. It soon transpires that a serial killer of beautiful young foreign women has been operating un-noticed for 20 years or so. While trying to hide the fact of the killings in case the tourists flee the island, Kildis and Tassos Stamatos, a Homicide investigator from a nearby island, have to track down the killer who they believe has kidnapped a young Dutch tourist in readindess for another murder.

I admit I’ve only spent a couple of days on Mykonos but I hated every minute of them (if you’ve never been there perhaps imagine an Ibiza full of holidaying Brits or Cancun during American Spring break). I do have a sense that Siger has captured the essence of the place which he depicts as one of natural beauty that the thousands of visitors there at any one time seem to go out of their way to ignore while they get drunk and have meaningless sex with strangers. The politics of corruption, misogyny and cover-up, particularly when it comes to protecting the island’s only viable industry, tourism, is also drawn very realistically. I don’t imagine Siger, an American who lives for part of each year on the island, will be on the local tourist board’s Christmas card list.

The rest of the book though, for me, wasn’t terribly believable or very entertaining. For a start I’m a bit fed up with serial killer novels in general (unless someone can offer a genuinely interesting slant such as Rob Kitchin’s The Rule Book which I read last month). The disproportionate number of such killers in fiction versus the real world makes most tales featuring them read like make-believe and I think I may have reached my lifetime saturation point for reading descriptions of young women being ickily tortured and killed because there’s a psychotic with a fetish on the loose. To be fair the descriptions of such activities in this book are at the less gruesome end of the gore scale but still I’ve had my fill. Personally I think the story of the single kidnapping of the young Dutch woman was suspenseful enough on its own and would still have provided Siger the opportunity to incorporate lots of local flavour. Looking for Hannibal Lecter behind every olive tree didn’t add anything of value for me.

The other disappointing aspect of the novel was the plotting which grew increasingly ludicrous. I actually imagined the author sitting back somewhere laughing at how he’d managed to get away with publishing such a nonsensical ending. A handful of potential suspects had been clumsily introduced earlier in the novel and, seemingly, one picked at random to be revealed as the culprit on the last page.

This is Siger’s debut novel and he does show potential with aspects of his writing like the character of Andreas Kildis who wrestles credibly with his need to investigate properly versus his desire to do what’s necessary politically to get himself back to Athens. However I can’t imagine myself rushing out to pick up the next book in this series if the plot and subject matter are as predictable and superficial as in this one.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

My rating 2/5

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press [2009] ISBN: 978-1590585818 Length: 288 pages Setting: Mykonos, Greece, present-day

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Murder in Mykonos has also been reviewed by Lesa’s Book Critiques, Reading is vital to my Sanity who both liked it far more than I did and also by L J Roberts, an Amzon reviewer whose reviews I follow who seemed to share my feelings.

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4 Responses to Review: Murder in Mykonos by Jeffrey Siger

  1. Bernadette – Thanks for this review. Sorry to hear that this one didn’t impress you. I always think it’s disappointing to read a book only to have it fall flat.

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  2. Dorte H says:

    Well, I won´t put it on my list.

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  3. barbara says:

    For a recent and VERY different opinion check out Amazon…

    A fine mystery thriller, February 14, 2010

    By Margaret Dybala “too many books, too little time”

    This is the first book I’ve read by Jeffrey Siger and I feel like I’ve made a wonderful discovery! I just loved this mystery and its main character, Greek police chief Andreas Kaldis. Andreas has angered some politicians and has been reassigned from Athens to a resort island, Mykonos, where nothing bad is ever expected to happen. As it turns out, a serial killer has been operating there for years and years.

    The point of view switches back and forth from that of Andreas and his new friend, Tassos, and of the newest kidnap victim. Will she be kidnapped? Will she escape? Who is the perpetrator? I love this sort of mystery. Not only is the story itself engaging, but all the interesting bits about Mykonos itself was also fascinating. And I hope that Greek officers and politicians aren’t really so “pragmatic.”

    What a story! I hope this writer does a dozen more with these characters.

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