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The Black Life


‘Johnston is one of the best there is and The Black Life is his finest novel yet.’ Mark Billingham

‘Well-imagined, well-rendered…The Black Life has the whirlwind pace of a good thriller, but it is far more mentally engaging, asking whether it is possible to judge the acts of people who find themselves in extreme situations’ Laura Wilson, The Guardian

‘A powerful novel on many levels…harrowing in places, it’s a gripping private eye-novel that offers a chilling snapshot of modern Greece’ Declan Burke, Irish Times

‘Paul Johnston has proved to be one of the most protean practitioners in the field, the effortless master of a variety of genres…given the author’s long residence in Greece, it’s hardly surprising that some of his finest writing has involved this sun-baked country. A good example is the recent The Black Life, a strongly-written novel told in alternating chapters which sets present day Greece against the years of the Holocaust…as much an examination of Greek identity as it is of the horrors of the second World War…both truthful and (occasionally) excoriating about the writer’s adopted country’ Barry Forshaw, Crime Time

‘Chilling and salutary…an intelligent and brilliant novel that is both serious and thrilling’ Stav Sherez, Catholic Herald

‘With its multiple points of view, this PI Mavros entry pulsates with suspense and a sensation of dread as the PI fights both the Samuel family’s demons and his own. Consider this Balkan noir at its best’ Library Journal

‘Such a horrifying tale that the odds of Alex surviving his encounter with “the abyss of the twentieth century’s greatest crime” unscathed seem negligible. Just as high a body count as Alex’s last two cases, thought the Holocaust back story sharpens this one to a knife point’ Kirkus

‘Johnston probes Greek anti-Semitism, both during the Holocaust and afterward, in his standout sixth mystery featuring Athens PI Alex Mavros…a worthy addition to the growing roster of contemporary Mediterranean sleuths’ Publishers Weekly

‘The descriptions of life in the concentration camps are harrowing, as are Aron’s actions as a Nazi-hunting vigilante after the war. A strong addition to the series’ Booklist

‘Very fast paced and brutal…absolutely superb’ Eurocrime

‘Johnston, by employing a split narrative between WW2 and the present day, shows how easy it is for history to repeat itself…the book manages to give a human dimension to a tale where everyone has secrets…as ever, a compelling protagonist’ Crimepieces

‘The sixth in the Alex Mavros series, and first for this reader, but it definitely won’t be the last…Mavros is a well-drawn character’ Historical Novel Society

‘Terrifically good’ Sofka Zinovieff

‘An excellent read: gripping and disturbing in equal measure’ Professor Gill Plain

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