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.
After reading The Stoning recently (see my other reviews) I wanted to read The Invisible as I love the way Peter Papathansiou writes, gritty outback noir.
The start of The Invisible sees Detective George Manolis working in the inner city, he’s also got Constable Andrew Sparrow with him however they are involved in a tragic shooting of a homeless kid, which leads to Manolis being ordered to take leave after suffering PTSD. He decides to head off to Greece, in search of inner calm and a break…… however things don’t work out that way!
When he arrives in the mountainous region of Perpes, he’s drawn into an off-duty undercover search for his friend Lefty, which will take him into the furthest reaches of the deserted and harsh landscape and put him in danger.
Now as always, I’m not going to give the plot away, but I must say that The Invisible is a stunning novel, it’s a love story of Greece from an author who loves his heritage and has clearly done a lot of research in this region of Greece. I learned an awful lot about Greek culture and history, in fact, it made me wish that Peter Papathansiou was around when I was at school as he explains the conflicts affecting Greece and its neighboring Countries really well. There is so much to take away from The invisible that it had me hitting up Google to find out more about the customs and culture of Greece, a place I’ve never visited but that I felt I had whilst reading Peters’s novel. It’s written in the same gritty, noir style as The Stoning but it leaves you feeling like you’ve just visited Greece as the prose is absolutely magical and so visceral.
And as for the climactic ending of The Invisible, well let’s just say, I did not see that coming and was super surprised! I’m so looking forward to the next book in the Detective George Manolis series.
If you like to travel the world from your armchair whilst reading then look no further than The Invisible, it will also teach you some Greek history on the way, A compelling and lush novel. A 5-star read from me!
Peter Papathanasiou was born in northern Greece in 1974 and adopted as a baby to an Australian family. His debut book, a memoir, was published in 2019 as “Son of Mine” by Salt Publishing (UK) and “Little One” by Allen & Unwin (Australia). His debut novel, a work of crime fiction, was published in 2021 as “The Stoning” by MacLehose Press (UK) and Transit Lounge (Australia), and in 2022 by Polar Verlag (Germany). Peter’s writing has otherwise been published by The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The Seattle Times, The Guardian UK, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Good Weekend, ABC and SBS. He holds a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from City, University of London; a Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences from The Australian National University (ANU); and a Bachelor of Laws from ANU specializing in criminal law.
My review of The Stoning is HERE
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You can buy The Invisible HERE