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Johnston, Paul - 'The Black Life'
Hardback: 256 pages (Aug. 2013) Publisher: Creme de la Crime ISBN: 1780290489

Half Greek/half Scottish PI Alex Mavros, is approached by wealthy jeweller Eli Samuel after his Uncle Aron is seen, surprisingly, on the streets of Thessaloniki in Northern Greece. However, this must be a mistake as Aron Samuel was thought to have perished in Auschwitz over sixty years previously. Alex accepts the case and travels to Thessaloniki accompanied by his client's daughter Rachel. They question the lady who claimed to have seen the uncle but she is venomous in her hatred of him as a Nazi collaborator. Could this be true or does she have other motives?

During Alex and Rachel's investigation of the whereabouts of the missing uncle this multi-faceted thriller has interwoven with the main plot a narrative by Uncle Aron of his internment in Auschwitz and his experiences with his fellow Jews. The death camp descriptions pull no punches and readers of a sensitive nature should beware that they may be shocked.

Alex and Rachel are attacked by Greek Nazi sympathisers who blame the poor economic conditions of the economy on migrant workers taking all the jobs.

Alex has a lot of personal problems of his own with his wife pining for him to return to Athens as she desperately wants to conceive a child and without him it is impossible.

This very fast paced and brutal story reaches it final climax in a completely unexpected (for me) conclusion. I have only read one of the stories in his other "Matt Wells" series before - THE DEATH LIST - but never any of the Alex Mavros stories and I'm disappointed that I have not had the opportunity as this was absolutely superb. Recommended.

Terry Halligan, England
September 2013

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 28/09/2013 21:35