ATHENIAN BLUES by Pol Koutsakis


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An unlikely Athens “caretaker” meets his match when both members of an estranged couple seek his help in a domestic dispute that turns homicidal.

Vassilis Stathopoulos and Aliki Stylianou are quite a pair. He’s a celebrated lawyer; she’s a model-turned–television actress. She claims that the bruises on her body are from the beatings he’s inflicted; he claims that she cuts herself. Or maybe, just maybe, they’re badges of the couple’s no-boundaries sex life. The one thing the two of them agree on is that someone’s trying to kill her. Aliki, convinced that that someone is her husband, wants to hire Stratos Gazis to kill him first; Vassilis wants Stratos to protect Aliki from the killer by nailing him before he succeeds. Before he can decide which client he wants to accept, Stratos, who acutely observes that “at least one of them was lying. Maybe they both were,” comes upon the corpse of Elsa Dalla, an untalented supporting player on Aliki’s TV show, in Aliki’s BMW. Clearly these are deep waters, and it’s lucky that instead of diving into them alone, Stratos has help from his old friend Costas Dragas, an Athens homicide cop, and his even older friend Teri Berikis, a transgender prostitute. The trio will need all their varied skills to get to the bottom of the unexpectedly dark secret at the heart of the case.

Koutsakis’ first appearance in English translation is more interested in multiplying oddball suspects than in giving them anything to do. But it’s hard to resist his hero, a freelance killer who describes himself as “a kind of social worker, except I get properly paid.”

Pub Date: April 11th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-908524-76-8
Page count: 278pp
Publisher: Bitter Lemon Press
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017


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