An Aegean April is the ninth book in Jeffrey Siger’s series featuring Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis. I have missed a few in the series, but was happy to find him happy and enjoying his hard-earned success–a long way from his exile in Murder in Mykonos. He still has his nose for murder and his determination to seek out the truth even though, or perhaps because, it may reveal government corruption.

An Aegean April takes us to Lesvos, an island very much in the news lately as it’s where the boatloads of Syrian refugees come ashore seeking escape from the war at home. The people of Lesvos have been amazing in their welcome and generosity, particularly considering the difficulty Greece is suffering economically. And just purely as an aside, it would not hurt to remember that Greece forgave Germany’s debt in 1953.

This story, then, is “ripped from the headlines” and it begins with a gruesome assassination, using a sword, no less. A local community leader, someone proposing a solution to some of the refugee crisis is slain, gruesomely. A warning from the traffickers. Dana, an NGO leader, calls Kaldis for help as her employee, a refugee, has wrongfully been arrested. Kaldis looks into it, agrees and gets his team involved. Meanwhile, the murderer is wreaking havoc in Turkey among the traffickers. He, too, has a solution for the refugee crisis. One that involves him taking a leading role in the the industry.

Jeffery Siger uses his characters to convey his support for humane and generous acceptance and treatment of the refugees. I agree with him completely. I think he wrote this book as a means to voice his position and persuade more people to be welcoming and accepting. Unfortunately, that changes the book quite a bit and it makes the characters a bit preachy. The book would have been better without the agenda and, to be honest, the agenda would have been better served. Trust people to draw their own conclusions, and they may surprise you.

There were a few things that made this a less satisfying book than it could be. We are too much in the killer’s head and it’s an unpleasant place. Siger has a tendency to create almost superhuman villains, this one is not very credible. On the other hand, he creates a magnificent sense of place. You can almost feel the angle of light as he writes about the island. It’s beautiful. I want to go there and he makes me want to go there more.

I should add, I was reading this book and writing this review in the hospital under the influence of morphine. I don’t think it made me a harsher reader, but my reading has been frequently interrupted, breaking up the story over and over again.

I received an e-gally of An Aegean April from the publisher through NetGalley.

An Aegean April at Poisoned Pen Press