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The Silver Stain


‘a Byzantine thriller, with a satisfying number of crosses and double-crosses…the complexities and ambiguities of history stand in stark contrast to the gung-ho simplifications of a Hollywood blockbuster…a highly readable thriller, told with pace and humour. It’s a page-turner, but it has depth and subtlety. The Mavros series is going from strength to strength.’ Danuta Reah/ Strand Magazine

‘Flashbacks of the war alternate with a cutting critique of the movie biz. A satisfying mix of the cerebral, the satirical and the affecting.’ Daily Telegraph

‘A Scottish author living in Greece, writing about a detective who is half-Scottish, half-Greek, Johnston employs an observer who is ideally placed to make an outsider’s caustic observations about modern Crete, yet he knows the terrain well enough to give the setting a vividly authentic feel. The island’s time-honoured love-hate relationship with law and order, allied to pacy narrative and deadpan black humour courtesy of a knowingly archetypal private eye, all delivered in deceptively elegant prose, make The Silver Stain an early contender for one of the best private-detective novels of the year.’ Irish Times

‘Appealing…  Mavros must deal with politics, corruption, and even the Cretan tradition of vendettas as secrets and grudges multiply. Fragments of memoirs…illustrate the horrors suffered by both sides during Word War Two. Readers will hope they won’t have to wait another eight years for Mavros’s next appearance.’ Publishers Weekly

‘Alex’s ongoing investigation uncovers a huge conspiracy involving drug smuggling, antiquity theft, and revenge. With plenty of action, wisecracking characters, and a beautiful setting, this one is likely to please a wide range of mystery readers.’ Booklist

‘More earnest action/ adventure than mystery despite criminal misadventures in which absolutely everyone ends up implicated, and a stirring demonstration of how “Crete really did get to people, even within hours of arrival”.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘A strong sense of place with nonstop action.’ Library Journal

‘Johnston delves into the rich history of the surroundings and does a great job of setting the tone early on. …moves at a nice clip and once you are into the book you can feel it not wanting to let you go. Another masterpiece.’ Jon Jordon, Crimespree Magazine

The Silver Stain…continues in the same intoxicating vein as its predecessors with its heady mix of missing persons, buried secrets and an unnervingly noir Cretan landscape. … Then, as past crimes merge with the new, Mavros finds his own history intertwining with the horror. It’s this quick pace that is one of Johnston’s greatest assets. …the structure is sharp and taut, never feeling slack or overburdened by the details it packs into itself. Johnston ably maintains the suspense and maintains clarity. … Of course, it’s the main man Mavros who’s got the real pulling power. … A true noir detective, he’s fallible and fearless, opening his mouth and taking the punches, with an eye for hidden details and a habit of getting himself into sticky situations. In a novel with more than its fair share of USPs, he’s the pick of the bunch. … Unafraid to tackle big subject matter, from World War invasions to contemporary fascism, drugs to corruption, The Silver Stain is a pulsating crime novel from start to finish. Brimming with fresh takes on genre tropes, it’s deceptively unnerving and provocative.’ www.

‘…I believe the Alex Mavros series is the author’s best. … I enjoyed The Silver Stain and would recommend it as a good read.’

‘…an absorbing read full of interesting detail about life on Crete. … Alex Mavros, with his leather jacket and gung-ho attitude seems at home in the setting and by emphasising his mixed Greek-Scottish ancestry, you can see the tension between his patriotism and his despair at the irrationality of many of the islanders’ attitudes.’
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