THE BLACK LIFE by Paul Johnston


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Scots/Greek private eye Alex Mavros’ sixth case sets him on the trail of an old man who’s recently been spotted in Thessaloniki even though he died in Auschwitz.

Jewelry king Eliezer Samuel thought he’d finished mourning his uncle over 60 years ago. So he’s stunned when Ester Broudo tells Rabbi Savvas Rousso that she saw Aron Samuel outside a wedding. Though it defies belief that Aron could have survived and then hidden himself for all these years, Eliezer knows concentration camps’ records are notoriously unreliable. So he asks Alex, a well-known missing persons specialist, to fly to Thessaloniki along with Eliezer’s daughter, Rachel, to follow the trail of the apparition. Alex isn’t crazy about working with Rachel, who seems to have her own agenda, or leaving behind his ladylove, social worker Niki Glezou, who’s already distraught because she can’t get pregnant. But the bills for the home he shares with Niki must be paid, so he takes the job, hoping that he can stay one step ahead of the Son, the killer who survived Alex’s last case (The Green Lady, 2013) and swore vengeance. Unlike Alex, readers know from the beginning that Aron is indeed alive courtesy of alternating chapters told from his perspective that trace his story from World War II to the present. It’s such a horrifying tale that the odds of Alex surviving his encounter with “the abyss of the twentieth century’s greatest crime” unscathed seem negligible.

Just as high a body count as Alex’s last two cases, though the Holocaust back story sharpens this one to a knife point.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-78029-048-5
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Creme de la Crime
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 2013


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