Saturday, October 4, 2014

A Special Meaning Behind SONS OF SPARTA



I know you’re all expecting whistles, brass bands, and a few other surprises here today to announce Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis #6, SONS OF SPARTA, coming Tuesday, October 7th.

But guess what, I’m not feeling up to it.  Don’t misunderstand me, I love the book—perhaps my best ever—and I’m as excited as any author at the impending launch, but I just don’t have the urge to scream, “Buy me!” though you can through my website.

Maybe it’s because I return to the US tomorrow after six months on Mykonos?

Maybe.

But on a conscious level I think there is a deeper reason. Before I get to that, let me at least pass along this bit of a description about the newest addition to my Greece-based mystery series.

Many say the ancient warrior Spartans simply vanished from the earth without a trace, the same as did their city, but others say they found sanctuary at the very tip of Greece’s southernmost mountainous Peloponnese in a stark, unforgiving region known as the Mani. 

There, roots run deep and great pride is taken in pirate, highwayman, and warrior ancestors, and in neighbors fighting ferociously alongside neighbors to defeat every foreign force foolish enough to attempt to occupy their part of Greece. Not so often mentioned is these same neighbors killing one another in savage, vendetta-crazed attacks driven by a strict code of honor valuing loyalty to family above all else.

When Special Crimes Division Detective Yiannis Kouros is summoned to the Mani by his uncle on what he will only describe as “a family matter,” Kouros fears his loyalty to his boss, Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis, is about be to be tested, because that uncle once headed Mani’s most significant criminal enterprise.

What Kouros learns instead is that he’s about to become rich—until an accident occurs that’s actually a murder, an ancient vendetta seems back in play, and his family draws him into its search for vengeance. But Kouros locates the killer and solves the crime eliminating the call for family retribution.  Or so it seems, until Andreas’ investigation into deeply entrenched government corruption leads straight back to the Mani and Kouros’ family amid a host of unexpected twists, unforgettable characters, unanswered questions, and more yet to die.

Publishers Weekly, in a starred review, kindly wrote, “Siger's perfectly plotted sixth mystery set in Greece...paints travelogue-worthy pictures of a breathtakingly beautiful—if politically corrupt—Greece.”

Thank you PW.

So, what is it that has me in this mood?

Perhaps simply that it’s number six. 

That may not seem like a lot to those who are fans of Georges Simenon with his 200, Sue Grafton with her alphabet, or my colleagues here at MIE such as Cara who’s about to run out of arrondissements.  But hitting a half-dozen has a special meaning to me because of a very special fellow who saw number six as a big deal.

He didn’t think an author was truly an author until he’d published five books.  Whether or not one agrees with that, it was his thinking. And to him number six meant you were no longer counting how many books you’d published, just doing what it took to write them.

So, my friend, this book is for you. Not just in spirit, but in dedication.

“In memory of Leighton Gage, a true friend, dedicated mentor, and gifted writer.”



God rest your soul, big guy.

And on this day of Yom Kippur, may we all be inscribed in the Book of Life.


Jeff—Saturday

31 comments:

  1. I saw your dedication when I read the book. It made me smile. I miss him.

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  2. Congratulations on the book Jeff - here's wishing it will soar. The dedication is wonderful despite making me sad.

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    1. Thanks, Yrsa. See you soon in Iceland. Hmm, I hope folks realize that's a good thing. :)

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  3. Applause and congrats for number six, Jeff, and the heartfelt dedication. Safe travels back to the U.S. See you in Long Beach.

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    1. Thanks, Dave. Looking forward to seeing you at Bouchercon...by which time the Steelers may actually have beaten a team they should beat.

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  4. Congratulations, Jeff! Leighton would be proud and happy, so celebrate!
    I immediately went to your website to get a copy, but no ebook version as yet? Darn, I'll have to wait for Long Beach. But the upside is that you can sign it for me.

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    1. Far be it from me to be considered "touting" the book, but I noticed today that it is available in eBook form from Amazon. http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Sparta-Inspector-Andreas-Mystery-ebook/dp/B00NVC0AI6/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1412493889&sr=8-1&keywords=sons+of+sparta

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  5. Thanks, Michael. I guess there's always an upside to Amazon not making eBooks available before the release date.:) Looking forward to sharing two panels with you at Bouchercon!

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  6. Aw, Jeff you've caused a little catch in my throat. I miss Leighton. Bravo on #6, huge congratulations and great that we'll all be wearing our Tshirts together again soon!

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    1. Thank you, Cara, and I'm looking forward to it too, though after this summer on Mykonos I hope I can still fit into mine.

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  7. HUZZAH for SONS OF SPARTA!!! But not without with tears in eyes. I can feel Leighton smiling in my heart. He would be delighted by the praise you've received--AS AM I.

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    1. Thanks, and a big huzzah for you, too, AA. We each keep his spirit alive in our own way.

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    1. I sent her an email this morning telling her of the post, but not of the dedication.

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  9. I'm happy for your great PW review, and wish you the best with the new book (and I'm very much looking forward to reading it)! But I'm saving the congratulations for #12, which I'm fully confident I'll be reading in no time at all!

    And anytime you feel a light breeze on the back of your neck... that's Leighton looking over your shoulder, friend.

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    1. With Leighton looking over my shoulder and you always climbing up my back, I feel prepared for anything.:) Thanks, my friend.

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  10. Mazel tov my friend. Kudos well deserved. And a wonderful dedication which we all endorse.

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    1. Thanks, Stan. I know we all felt the same way.

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    1. Thanks, Glenn, you've been a loyal friend!

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  12. Jeff, congratulations on Sons of Sparta!
    I am sure it is another great book.
    I don't know how to express the way our daughters and I are moved by your dedication to Leighton.

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    1. I meant every word, Eide. Thank you, my love.

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  13. Jeff,
    I have enjoyed your books and look forward to "Sons of Sparta." Congratulations on reaching #6! Your dedication hit the mark; I was really touched as well as saddened. I am not a fellow author, but a long time friend, and Leighton was indeed, as you said, "a true friend."
    Tony Riggs

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    1. Thank you, Tony. I remember Leighton often speaking fondly of you and your "adventures" together. We were all blessed by his friendship--as he was by yours.

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  14. I never knew Leighton Gage but from the comments here he must have been one great friend. I have come to learn how unique is the community of authors who blog here on MIE and on PPP. It is a wonderful thing to belong to such a group, one that cheers you on and is delighted by your successes. And come to think of you as a friend.

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    1. You're right on all accounts, Barbara!

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