Burnt-out from policework, Detective Sergeant George Manolis flies from Australia to Greece for a holiday. Recently divorced and mourning the death of his father, who emigrated from the turbulent Prespes region which straddles the borders of Greece, Albania and North Macedonia, Manolis hopes to reconnect with his roots and heritage.
On arrival, Manolis learns of the disappearance of an ‘invisible’ – a local man who lives without a scrap of paperwork. The police and some locals believe the man’s disappearance was pre-planned, while others suspect foul play. Reluctantly, Manolis agrees to work undercover to find the invisible, and must navigate the complicated relationships of a tiny village where grudges run deep.
It soon becomes clear to Manolis that he may never locate a man who, for all intents and purposes, doesn’t exist. And with the clock ticking, the ghosts of the past continue to haunt the events of today as Manolis’s investigation leads him to uncover a dark and long-forgotten practice.
My thoughts: I was utterly gripped by this tale of a missing person in Northern Greece, not an area many tourists visit. The poverty and hardships faced by the villagers, the conflict that never leaves them (the Greek civil war), the way they talk about the strange traditions and culture, was all fascinating.
I know a lot about Ancient Greece but modern Greece doesn’t get a look in in terms of learning about it. I didn’t even know there was a civil war following WW2. How terrible is that.
This book, is however, far from terrible. Instead it’s utterly gripping. As Manolis searches the buildings and countryside of this border land and bonds with Roze, an Albanian who claims she just walked over the border, he delves into the old ways that small villages still honour, but also modern smuggling, secrets and the concept of being ‘invisible’ in the modern world – somehow existing without any paperwork or really being a person legally.
The twists at the end made my head spin – just as you think you understand what’s happened, you’re thrown completely off track. Highly enjoyable, intelligent crime fiction.
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.