Athenian Blues by POL KOUTSAKIS
By POL KOUTSAKIS BITTER LEMON PRESS OUT NOW
espite the prevailing financial crisis in Greece, business is good for Stratos Gazis. The Athenian hit man (he prefers the term “caretaker”) has a steady supply of clients, although his latest job goes awry before he can get near the target: a lawyer who’s apparently been mistreating his wife, a famous model. Soon after she hires Stratos, her BMW is peppered with bullets at a crossroads. But the victim driving the car turns out to be a different woman with a striking resemblance to the glamorous celebrity, who’s apparently gone into hiding.
While the average hit man might hold out for a less convoluted case, Stratos has clearly got a thing for his client, despite a film noir obsession that should ring alarm bells where femmes fatales are concerned.
Hired assassins in fiction tend to be mirthless loners. So it’s refreshing to find an executioner with a sense of humour – Stratos debates points of grammar at moments of peril – and a few trusted friends, including a detective who turns a blind eye to Stratos’ contract killing. It’s a compelling, twisty start to this series, while the trenchant asides on the Greek crisis put Athenian Blues firmly in the tradition of urban crime with a political edge.