AshesIn a corrupt and crumbling society, where every life has its price, addiction and regret are the only human qualities left…

You know when you hit a period of reading crime books and you just think ‘yadda yadda yadda- read it all before’ well, I have just broken my recent cycle of this by discovering the marvellous ‘Ashes’ What a breath of fresh air and a brilliantly realised crime novel with a completely authentic portrayal of Greek society. The translation was excellent and I loved the coke-sniffing , revenge-seeking policeman Chronis and the way his relationship developed with the borderline alcoholic lawyer Simeon (linked by their involvement with the enigmatic but damaged Sonia)- what great examples for the legal system they both were and the joys of clean-living….not! I enjoyed the little snippets of both their lives with the mysterious Sonia and the way her voice penetrated the book despite her being an almost spectral figure in her hospital bed. In the central storyline there was a brilliant dissemination of the greed of property developers with the dark shadow of the Church and their sinister monetary influence looming large in the generally underhand dealings going on. I thought the writing was crisp and sharp and I’m a huge fan of George Pelecanos so the inherent ‘Greekness’ of this and similarity of a pared-down style really appealed to me. An excellent read and an author I would certainly seek out again…
 
(With thanks to MacLehose for the reading copy)
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