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Ashes

3.44  ·  Rating Details ·  32 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Translation of Stachtes, published by Kastaniotis Editions, Athens, in 2007.

When Sonia Varika is pulled from the fire, her body is burned almost beyond recognition. For her ex-lovers, Police Colonel Chronis Halkidis and Simeon Piertzovanis, the landlord of the gutted property, her fate is a heavy reckoning. Fuelled by their twin addictions to cocaine and alcohol, they are
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Hardcover, 309 pages
Published July 1st 2011 by Maclehose (first published January 1st 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Nancy Oakes
Ashes is set in Greece, and is a story that focuses on a country falling apart, in part due to its often morally-bankrupt caretakers as well as other forces that have sent society spiraling down into a decline from which it may or may not recover. As a social commentary, it's a winner, and as a novel of crime fiction, it's also pretty awesome.

As the novel opens two things are going on in Athens: preparations are underway for the Olympic Games, and a rather non-descript house burns down, taking w
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Ellie
Jun 23, 2011 Ellie rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime, translated
A house in Athens is burned to the ground, three are dead and one women is left fighting for her life. The women, Sonia, was once a great actress and her ex-lovers, her alcoholic landlord and a policeman, are the only ones who wish to find out what really happened the night of the fire.

I liked the idea, the narrative is split between Halkidis and Piertzovanis, the two ex-lovers, interspersed with memories of Sonia. However I found that I was missing the inflections we are used to in speech to kn
...more
Rob Kitchin
May 06, 2012 Rob Kitchin rated it it was amazing
Ashes is a fine slice of Greek noir. All of the principle characters and institutions are deeply flawed. Although in charge of internal affairs, Colonel Halkidis is addicted to cocaine and is prepared bend the law in savage ways, though he does so for justice not financial gain. Piertzovanis is an alcoholic and prone to depression and melancholy. Raina is cheating on her boyfriend. Sonia is vain and a lush. Just about all the other characters are corrupt or prepared to turn a blind eye. The poli ...more
Raven
May 31, 2012 Raven rated it liked it
You know when you hit a period of reading crime books and you just think 'yadda yadda yadda- read it all before' well, I have just broken my recent cycle of this by discovering the marvellous 'Ashes' What a breath of fresh air and a brilliantly realised crime novel with a completely authentic portrayal of Greek society. The translation was excellent and I loved the coke-sniffing , revenge-seeking policeman Chronis and the way his relationship developed with the borderline alcoholic lawyer Simeon ...more
RestfulReviews
Jan 13, 2017 RestfulReviews rated it liked it
In most noir fiction, there is a lot of corruption. Entire stories are built out of it. Ashes goes one better by going past the point where anyone pretends this is a surprise. Corruption is the default state of being, with pretty much everyone taking this for granted. A mysterious fire in a house that kills four people, badly injuring a once famous actress. A policeman investigates (he's the head of internal affairs, but that doesn't matter, as the Chief of police owes him a favour), joining fo ...more
Nose in a book (Kate)
I took this book on holiday with me because crime is usually a good bet for an absorbing throwaway read. This book didn’t quite live up to that expectation, being both better than expected but also in some ways worse. I probably need to explain.

For a start this is one of the more literary police procedurals I have ever read, inasmuch as the writing is very good, a little experimental even, and it doesn’t follow the expected rules of the genre. Now that may partly be because it’s Greek, and perha
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Christos Yiannakenas
A neat noir tale from Greece. Good pacing, bleak characters, black humor and dark twists. But the political background seems at times hurried (as in almost every Greek noir tale), even though at times feels very relevant to the situation at Greece at this point, and it makes the story tiring instead of compeling. But still, this is one of the better noir books made by Greeks in recent memory, just because Gakas plays great with his characters and narrative, in a way you ask for more.
Hermien
Jan 21, 2017 Hermien rated it liked it
Shelves: crime-thriller
The book has an interesting structure. There are two first person narratives and the thoughts of a third person. The crime solving becomes more interesting as the book progresses.
Ann Tonks
Apr 06, 2016 Ann Tonks rated it really liked it
A new writer for me and one who has created a fascinating group of characters in contemporary Athens. A book with heart as well as politics, murder and corruption.
Marilyn
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