From the summary at Goodreads:
Wealthy ship-owner Kostas Gatsos has been missing for several weeks, having been snatched from his luxury villa on the idyllic island of Lesvos. Curiously, there has been no ransom demand. When the police investigation stalls, the desperate Gatsos family turn to private investigator Alex Mavros for help.review of The Black Life at her crimepieces blog. She mentioned that there were big changes at the end of book 6 and thought that the series and the protagonist could be taking a different direction in the next book. I thought I might be able to pick this book up and read it as a standalone book, without the other books for background. I did find that to be true for the most part.
Inherently suspicious of the super-rich and initially reluctant to take on the case, Mavros finds himself dealing with a highly dysfunctional family with more than a few skeletons in its closet, a family whose tentacles have a surprisingly wide reach.
I did not see much depth in the characterizations in this novel, and I am wondering whether this is because the author is relying on the reader's familiarity with some of the characters and not repeating back stories with each book. This is a good thing, but in some cases I felt like I was missing something. However, the basic story, which I would classify as an adventure, was interesting and moved very fast. I like good pacing in a book.
Mavros is an appealing character because he is loyal to his family and friends. And they care about him. Few characters in this book are perfect, but each is unique and interesting, including the bad guys. This book takes up Alex's story five years after the end of the previous book, and he has been working for the family publishing business in the meantime. In order to pick up his previous occupation of looking for missing persons, he seeks out his old friend Yiorgos Pandazopoulos, who has aided in previous investigations.
There are several subplots that will all come together in some way in the end. The author keeps us guessing. I liked the way the ending was handled. It may have been too pat, too easy, but it also did not have an extended period where the protagonist and significant others are in danger. I have never liked that approach to ending thrillers.
The author has lived in Greece and put his experience there to good use when writing this book. He also "worked in shipping in London, Antwerp and Piraeus". See this page at his web site for an overview of the book. Having read a bit more about the earlier six books in the series, I think I would like to go back to them. I consider this a compliment to the author. At the author's website you will also find information about his two other series, both of which sound interesting to me.
Paul Johnston was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. Thus this book counts for the Read Scotland challenge at Peggy Ann's Post. He has lived in Greece and is married to Roula, a Greek civil servant. He still divides his time between Scotland and Greece.
Publisher: Severn House, 2014
Length: 289 pages
Series: Alex Mavros, #7
Source: Provided by the publisher via NetGalley.