Target: Tinos (Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Series #4)

Target: Tinos (Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Series #4)

by Jeffrey Siger

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Overview

"Target: Tinos [is] another of Jeffrey Siger's thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales."—New York Times

In an isolated olive grove on the Aegean island of Tinos lies the remains of two charred bodies chained together amid pieces of an incinerated Greek flag. An enraged press screams out for justice for the unknown victims, until the dead are identified as Gypsies. Then the story simply dies. Is it a Gypsy clan war, a hate crime, or something else? With no one seeming to care, the Greek government has no interest in resurrecting unwanted media attention and orders the investigation closed. But Andreas Kaldis, head of Greece's special crimes division, has other plans. He presses on to unravel a mystery that yields more dead, a modern secret society, and questions about the sudden influx of non-Greeks and Gypsies to Tinos. Now Andreas must find the killers before more die, stop the robbery of the century, and get married in the process.



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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781615954001
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 05/22/2012
Series: Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis Series , #4
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 250
Sales rank: 340,211
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Jeffrey Siger was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm, and later established his own New York City law firm where he continued as one of its name partners until giving it all up to write full-time among the people, life, and politics of his beloved Mykonos. The Mykonos Mob is the tenth novel in his internationally best-selling and award nominated Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series, following up on An Aegean April, Santorini Caesars, Devil in Delphi, Sons of Sparta, Mykonos After Midnight, Target: Tinos, Prey on Patmos, Assassins of Athens, and Murder in Mykonos.

The New York Times described Jeffrey Siger's novels as "thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales," and named him as Greece's thriller writer of record. The Greek Press called his work "prophetic," Eurocrime described him as a "very gifted American author...on a par with other American authors such as Joseph Wambaugh or Ed McBain," and the City of San Francisco awarded him its Certificate of Honor citing that his "acclaimed books have not only explored modern Greek society and its ancient roots but have inspired political change in Greece." He now lives in Greece.


Jeffrey Siger was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, practiced law at a major Wall Street law firm, and later established his own New York City law firm where he continued as one of its name partners until giving it all up to write full-time among the people, life, and politics of his beloved Mykonos. The Mykonos Mob is the tenth novel in his internationally best-selling and award nominated Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis series, following up on An Aegean April, Santorini Caesars, Devil in Delphi, Sons of Sparta, Mykonos After Midnight, Target: Tinos, Prey on Patmos, Assassins of Athens, and Murder in Mykonos.

The New York Times described Jeffrey Siger's novels as "thoughtful police procedurals set in picturesque but not untroubled Greek locales," and named him as Greece's thriller writer of record. The Greek Press called his work "prophetic," Eurocrime described him as a "very gifted American author...on a par with other American authors such as Joseph Wambaugh or Ed McBain," and the City of San Francisco awarded him its Certificate of Honor citing that his "acclaimed books have not only explored modern Greek society and its ancient roots but have inspired political change in Greece." He now lives in Greece.

Read an Excerpt

Target: Tinos

An Inspector Kaldis Mystery
By Jeffrey Siger

Poisoned Pen Press

Copyright © 2012 Jeffrey Siger
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-61595-400-1


Chapter One

Revenge or Death.

That was all that the note said. It was found protected in a cylinder chained to the steering wheel of a van set on fire sometime before dawn. In the rear of the van was another surprise wrapped in chains: the remains of two bodies charred beyond recognition amid bits and pieces of an incinerated Greek flag.

"Freedom or Death" was Greece's national motto and by noon enraged network talking heads relentlessly decried the horror as a national sacrilege, with shouts of justice for the yet unidentified victims and merciless punishment for those "unwelcome foreign elements" tearing asunder the fabric of Greek culture with "their criminal ways." It did not matter that no one knew the truth.

* * *

"I'm sorry, but I can't make it," Andreas yelled into his cell phone over the whipping helicopter rotors.

"We must have a bad connection. I could swear I just heard you say you 'can't make it' to the only meeting I asked you to attend with our wedding planner." Lila's voice was in decidedly frosty counterpoint to the heavy, late morning air of July's last days.

Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis, feared head of the Greek police's Special Crimes Division, cleared his throat as he said, "I thought you'd understand."

"Andreas—" Lila paused. "You can't talk?"

"Yes."

"You better be a hostage."

"Worse."

"You're surrounded by politicians?"

"Just one. I have to go, kisses." Andreas hung up and let out a breath.

"You're a lucky guy," said Andreas' boss, Greece's minister of public order. "My wife would have killed me if I'd done something like that to her less than two weeks before our wedding." He smiled.

"There's still time." Andreas attempted to force a smile. Twenty minutes until they reached Tinos. "You do realize the press will be waiting for us?"

"It is their duty to report this massacre. We're talking about mass murder on the island of the Church of Panagia Evangelistria, the Lourdes of Greece."

Andreas could tell the minister was rehearsing his pitch for the cameras. Andreas preferred listening to the rotors.

Panagia was an Eastern Orthodox title for the Virgin Mary and Evangelistria referred to the Annunciation when the angel Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary the incarnation of Christ. Tinos' Church of the Annunciation, Panagia Evangelistria, was the most revered religious shrine in Greece. More than a million pilgrims flocked there each year, many seeking healing from the Miraculous Icon of the Virgin Mary, the Megalochari. Megalochari meant "Great Grace" and was the Greek people's unofficial name for The Holy Icon of the Annunciation of Tinos kept within the Church of Panagia Evangelistria.

Andreas stared at his minister. "Let's just try not to make any promises we can't keep."

Minister Spiros Renatis glared back, but said nothing. His carefully cultivated public image depended upon Andreas staying on as Greece's number one cop for all things nasty and both men knew that. And being incorruptible gave Andreas a bottom line freedom many in government did not share: knowledge that he could earn far more elsewhere, especially in these days of mandated deep cuts by the European Union, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank to every public servant's pay. That gave rise to a simple arrangement: Andreas did things his way and Spiros took all the credit. They hadn't yet worked out who'd take the blame if some day things went terribly wrong.

The helicopter came in from the west, passing over brown-green hills of wild oregano, rosemary, and sage, veined with narrow paths and ancient walls, and on into a valley on the northeastern coast peppered with cedars, olive, and fruit trees. Tinos was a largely undeveloped, narrow arrowhead-shape island pointing northwest. At three times the size of New York City's Manhattan, it was the fourth largest island in the Cycladic chain and had a fulltime population of fewer than 9,000.

The helicopter eased in close-by the edge of a burned out field of wild summer grass. There wasn't a building in sight. As soon as the rotors stopped spinning, Spiros jumped out and hurried off toward the TV cameras. He was wearing his serious face.

Andreas went in the opposite direction, toward a group of men gathered in the middle of a field around a flame-scorched van.

It was the smell that hit Andreas first. Gasoline mixed with charred flesh. The sort of thing he knew he'd never forget. He tried not to focus on the odor.

Revenge or Death. Okay, he could see revenge as the motive for something as brutal as this, but what's the tie in to our national motto and battle cry? And why Tinos for a public execution? The minister was right about that part. Tinos was where desperate pilgrims from all over the world came bearing prayers and offerings to the miraculous curative powers of the Megalochari; many crawling the steep half-mile up from the harbor to the church, pushing before them candles they'd vowed to light to the holy icon.

A half-dozen police cars were parked unevenly across a deeply rutted, one-lane dirt road separating an olive grove from the field. Andreas walked toward a cop trying to keep the curious away. "Who's in charge?"

The cop nodded in the direction of a man in plainclothes standing by the open rear doors of the van. Andreas knew him; they'd been together in the police academy.

The odor grew stronger as Andreas approached the van. He struggled not to gag. The man saw Andreas coming and turned to face the van. Andreas stopped next to him and stared inside.

"This tells it all, my friend," said the man. He was Tinos' police chief.

Andreas had been wrong. The odor was not what he would remember for the rest of his life. It was this, an image impossible to fully grasp in the abstract or ever forget in its unfathomable reality. Two shapes entwined in chains. Whatever flesh he could see was charred and blackened to the bone.

Neither man spoke for a moment. Andreas quietly said a prayer.

"Amen," said the police chief. "I've never seen anything like this."

"Me either, and I hope never to again." Andreas swallowed hard.

"This is one for heavy forensics. I called in for help from Athens, but you beat them here."

Andreas waved his hand in the direction of the minister. "Yeah, politics takes precedence over police work. Forensics should have been with us on that helicopter. But he didn't want to wait. They won't get here for hours."

"Same old shit, no surprises there."

Andreas nodded. "So, what do you think?"

"That we've got one hell of a problem and nothing to go on. Two victims chained together amid remnants of a Greek flag. Don't know why the flag didn't burn."

"Probably because someone didn't want it to," said Andreas.

"And then there's that cylinder chained to the steering wheel. We probably shouldn't have gone near it until after the bomb boys had a go at it."

"Not smart. If this was terrorists, that thing could have been set for another surprise."

The police chief shrugged. "Sometimes we Greeks are just too curious for our own good."

Andreas pointed at the ground. "Any foot prints?"

"Hundreds. What with firefighters, cops, and the locals, no way to tell what we have, if anything."

"Any witnesses?"

"None so far as we can tell. This area is deserted at night. And the fire started just before sunrise. A farmer over that hill," he pointed southwest, "saw the smoke and called it in. But I've got uniforms talking to everyone who's here." He gestured at the crowd. "Maybe we'll get lucky, find something to go on."

Andreas nodded. "Let's hope so." He patted the police chief on the back. "Be safe, Odysseus. Let me know as soon as you come up with anything."

Andreas walked to where Spiros was holding court and stood just outside the circle of reporters and cameras. He wasn't worried about being drawn into that zoo. Spiros shared the media spotlight with no one. As for the real mess—the one amid the field behind him—Andreas had no idea what Spiros had in mind for him, but he'd find out soon enough because Spiros was just wrapping up his prime time TV performance.

"Ladies and gentlemen, I'm sure you understand I must get on with the investigation, so please excuse me. But I give you and the Greek people my word that the ruthless murderers behind this heinous crime will be apprehended and punished. Greece cannot tolerate such crimes against its citizens."

The reporters kept shouting questions, but Spiros walked toward Andreas, motioning as he did for three cops to keep the press from following him.

"So, what do you think? Sounded pretty good, didn't I?"

Andreas shrugged. "I'm glad you followed my advice."

Spiros' voice bristled. "Sometimes I don't understand you. The van is Greek so we can trace it, but even if it's stolen we have two victims. One execution style murder might be hard to solve, but we've got two dead bodies and a message. There has to be an obvious motive for this, one that will point straight to whomever is responsible. And once we start pressing for leads informants will be falling all over themselves trying to make deals and score points with us." He shook his head.

"Frankly, Andreas, I don't understand your negative attitude. I don't want you involved in any of this. The only thing I want from you is your opinion on the local cops. Do you think this is something they can handle or not?"

At times Andreas wondered if he and his boss shared the same planet. As Andreas saw it, the bottom line to Spiros' little temper tantrum was one less mess for Andreas to worry about. But, for Spiros, he'd gone so far out on a limb with the media that absent extraordinary luck his career would be toast.

"Odysseus is a good man. He knows his job."

"Good, then I'm leaving this in his hands."

* * *

By the late afternoon the facts, or rather the lack thereof, started rolling in. No identifiable footprints or other signs were found in the area, the van had been stolen that night from the port without a clue as to who did it, and forensics could not identify either victim. Neither the curious present at the scene or snitches had anything to tell. There was not a lead to be found anywhere.

With Spiros having nothing left to feed the press, the media followed its natural instincts and began clamoring for his head.

Spiros' had no idea what to do next. His limb seemed about sawed clear through and his career toasted to just this side of charcoal when two days later relatives of the victims stepped forward and identified the bodies: tsigani—known in other languages as gypsies or roma.

And with that the story seemed to fall off the face of the earth.

Lucky bastard, thought Andreas.

Chapter Two

Athens General Police Headquarters, better known as GADA, was across the street from the stadium of one of Greece's two most popular soccer teams, down the block from Greece's Supreme Court, and next to a major hospital. In one way or another, what happened in that neighborhood affected virtually all of the more than five million people who lived in Athens. But at the moment Andreas faced only one Athenian. His boss had surprised him with a mountain-coming-to- Mohammed sort of visit. That usually meant he was in desperate need of Andreas' help.

Andreas wore that glazed look so often seen on those waiting for a politician to get to the point.

"At least that nastiness in Tinos is resolved," said Spiros.

He'd regained Andreas' attention. "You solved the murders?"

Spiros jerked his head up in the Greek gesture for no. "They'll never be solved. You know how blood feuds are among tsigani. No one talks to outsiders. Besides, as long as they keep the killing to themselves ..." he shrugged.

The tsigani were notorious for many things and victimized for far more. They were the objects of Nazi extermination efforts in World War II and a conundrum to the European Union today. Andreas knew that the behavior of a very few had irreparably branded the image of the many, but a solution for that sort of bigotry was not in his hands. He had to accept the reality caused by the few and deal with it.

"Is that what Odysseus thought happened?"

"Tinos police are no longer in charge of the investigation."

"Why is that?"

"It doesn't matter. And their chief is now officially on vacation for two weeks."

"What do you want from me?"

"I want you to close the case."

"And how do you propose I do that?"

"By stating the obvious. They were clan-motivated tsigani revenge killings and those who were behind it have fled Greece."

"You're the minister, you can close it." Fat chance of that, thought Andreas. Spiros never put his neck on the line; he always wanted someone to blame if things went wrong. Odysseus must have passed on being his fall guy and I'm his runner-up choice.

"The case is dead, Andreas, and no one cares any more. Let's just officially end it."

To Andreas that translated as the victims weren't anyone who mattered and lacked relatives with political or media clout, so press interest in their murders had evaporated.

"Sorry, Spiros, but Tinos is not within my jurisdiction."

Anger flashed across Spiros' face but he did not raise his voice. "We both know you have jurisdiction across Greece for something like this."

"Yes, but only if it's a matter of national concern or potential corruption. Don't you think the press might start to wonder why GADA's Chief of Special Crimes made a special appearance to take a case away from local police only to announce that it's closed?"

Spiros paused a few seconds and cleared his throat. "Perhaps I wasn't making myself clear. I'm not asking for you to take personal responsibility, I just thought you might be able to use your influence with your friend to convince him to help us out with this."

I guess we're on to fall guy candidate number three. "What friend?"

"Tassos Stamatos. As chief homicide investigator for the Cyclades, Tinos falls within his jurisdiction and what we're asking him to do isn't something he hasn't done before."

"I can give you his mobile number it you don't have it. I'm sure he'll take your call. After all, you are his boss."

Spiros forced a smile. "I think that suggestion might be better received coming from you."

Andreas couldn't argue with that. Andreas and Tassos met when Andreas was police chief on Mykonos, another Cycladic island, and they'd become fast friends with similar views on many things, including the abilities and ways of their minister. But Spiros had even less leverage with Tassos than he did with Andreas because Tassos was well beyond retirement age and possessed secrets and connections from both sides of the law that guaranteed him lifetime job security for as long as he wanted.

"I would owe him a big time favor. I'd owe you both," said Spiros.

They would be lost on your mountain of other IOUs, thought Andreas. "Perhaps if you told me what has you so wound up about this case I might be able to help you out. We both know the story is dead in the press."

"I'm not concerned with what the press thinks."

Andreas smiled.

"At least not the Greek press. And it's not just me who's worried. It's my boss."

"Are you trying to tell me that the Prime Minister wants the investigation closed?"

Spiros rubbed his chin. "It's about the money."

"Come again?"

"There are serious people in the E.U. looking for any justification for ending financial aid to Greece. So far the arguments against us are purely financial. That we don't work hard enough, we're corrupt, we don't want to pay taxes. You know the routine. And although you may not think it, that's a problem for those who are willing to let us go under, because more people in the E.U. are sympathetic to us than against us. It's a person-to-person thing. They feel the Greek people are being made to suffer by the E.U.'s big boys in an effort to deflect attention away from their own banks' fiscal mistakes. We don't want to do anything that might give our enemies different ammunition."

"What sort of ammunition?"

"The worst, the hypocritical kind. I don't have to tell you how every country in Europe has its own sort of immigrant issues. Ethnic stereotypes are a convenient, irresistible scapegoat for political failings, especially in hard times, and no one wants to be the first to point a serious finger at another country's shortcomings in dealing with its immigrants.

"But our adversaries would love to switch the focus of the debate from our country's financial problems to our national character. Paint us as indifferent to the plight of non-Greeks, an intolerant place where only Greeks are treated as deserving of protection, and all others be damned. It's a volatile, irrational, and emotional argument but one that could turn world opinion against us if it found traction in the press. And then it would no longer be just a question of denying us further bailout funds, but whether or not to drum us out of the E.U."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Target: Tinos by Jeffrey Siger Copyright © 2012 by Jeffrey Siger. Excerpted by permission of Poisoned Pen Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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