Today is the umpteenth anniversary of my Bar Mitzvah, but that’s not the reason I’m claiming it as my day. Nor am I doing so because Tim Hallinan’s new book, The Fear Artist, comes out next month and every day after that day will be his. :)
I’m also not doing this because I need a break from writing about what’s going on in Greece. Yes, too many of my conversations these days literally end with friends in tears as they struggle with their frustration at the array of leaders they’re offered in the upcoming June 17 election. You can cut the sense of utter helplessness in this country with a knife. No one seems to have any confidence whatsoever in any of the proffered leaders to bring the country through its crisis.
My reason is different. On Monday I’m off to the U.S. for my daughter’s wedding next Saturday. That’s an upbeat event, and starting today I intend to be and remain that way...at least until June 17th.
And what better way to do so than by celebrating this Tuesday’s release (June 5th) of my new Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis adventure, TARGET: TINOS, from Poisoned Pen Press. (It’s my day, Tim, so I get to use ALL CAPS).
As some of you know, I had to write two books to come up with just one. I wrote the first one in 2010 and it was scheduled to come out in January 2012, but along came the Arab Spring, initiated by a Tunisian ending his life through self-immolation in an effort to change the world, while on the other side of the Mediterranean my antagonists were employing the exact same method for precisely the same purpose. Then my principal bad guy character decided to come to life in the form and behavior of Dominique Strauss-Kahn. What I’d put forth as an original story line now seemed hopelessly derivative and my publisher and I agreed to kill it.
I can assure you that writing the novel that replaced it was not a pleasant experience: I always had one eye on the headlines, worrying that events I imagined would again be overrun by reality. As things turned out they were. But by then I was smiling ear-to-ear for the first reviews of Target: Tinos were in!
I guess I should tell you a little about the story line but as I’m the bashful sort, rather than using my own words, permit me to crib from Publishers Weekly’s starred review:
Set on the Aegean pilgrimage island of Tinos, Siger’s superb fourth procedural featuring Chief Insp. Andreas Kaldis (after 2011’s Prey on Patmos) cleverly integrates the ancient with the modern. When Andreas looks into the mysterious immolation of two gypsies on Tinos, apparently a hate crime against immigrants, he faces formidable pressures from his fiery fiancée, Lila, whom he’s to marry in six days on nearby Mykonos—and from his wily boss, Spiros Renatis, who abruptly orders him to close the investigation. While the Greek government can’t afford bad publicity during the country’s current financial crisis, Andreas, aided by his feisty chief assistant, Yianni Kouros, and his friend Tassos Stamatos, chief homicide investigator for the Cyclades, pursues this eerie case, which soon involves ruthless Albanian mobsters, the history of Greek independence from Turkey, and a Tinos-based esoteric cult. A likable, compassionate lead; appealing Greek atmosphere; and a well-crafted plot help make this a winner.
Then came praise from Library Journal, “Fast-paced, this thriller also serves as a kind of modern travelog and mini-history lesson on Greece rolled into one…interesting and highly entertaining;” Kirkus Reviews, “A crisp style with a complex portrait of contemporary Greece to bolster another solid whodunit;” and Booklist, “throbs with the pulse of Greek culture…engaging series.”
But little did I know the best was yet to come. In tomorrow’s Sunday New York Times Marilyn Stasio writes, “Target: Tinos is another of Jeffrey Siger’s thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales,” and at the core of the story “the ‘immigrant issue’ figures very much…as it has throughout Greece’s history.”
My joy at the Marilyn Stasio understanding the purpose of my work is hard to top. But, Irish mystery writer Sam Millar sure got my attention at the following excerpt from his upcoming review in the New York Journal of Books:
Mr. Siger is one of those rare writers whose finger is always on the pulse of modern day upheavals. He is never afraid to tackle and expose uncomfortable subjects—subjects most writers avoid.
Target: Tinos not only captures the fragrance of Greece and the ambience of its fascinating history, but also the souls of its inhabitants.
An authoritative and compelling voice, Mr. Siger is a master storyteller and Target: Tinos is a mesmerizing novel, authentic in its rendering of places and tongues. All this and a terrific, memorable protagonist. Great summer reading.
Then there are the interviews. There should be Miranda warnings accompanying the questions. Whatever. Award winning Irish mystery writer Declan Burke posted my answers to his tantalizing questions on Crime Always Pays and The International Thriller Writers sent ex-cop Rick Reed to get me to say a lot more than I probably should have for The Big Thrill.
This is all pretty heady stuff and I can assure you it puts a real smile on my face. But as you’ve probably already guessed, my biggest one will come a week from today…I love you KD and Terry.
Jeff aka Dad—Saturday