July 19, 2015

Jumping in Mid-Series: A Book Review of Thomas Mogford's Sleeping Dogs

Gibraltarian lawyer Spike Sanguinetti, plagued by nightmares after the death of his lover, decides to visit his friend and law partner Peter Galliano, who is recuperating from a hit-and-run at his family's vacation home on Corfu. To Spike's surprise and initial discomfort, Peter has also invited Spike's former flame Jessica Navarro, who was recently promoted to detective sergeant in the Gibraltarian police.

For Spike and Jessica, Corfu loses its idyllic aura when the body of an Albanian man is found on the Hoffman estate, next door to Peter's house. When one of Peter's employees is arrested for the murder, he begs Spike to represent Latsis pro bono. Spike, unable to resist the plea of his injured friend, takes on Latsis's case, in spite of pressure from the wealthy Hoffman family to hurry matters along.

As Spike and Jessica dig into the events surrounding the murder of the Albanian, they discover that beneath the cheerful, quotidian Greek culture are family vendettas and political corruption. As the clues lead them across Corfu and into Albania, Spike and Jessica end up putting their own lives on the line in their quest for truth.

Dividing its time among several unusual mystery settings--Gibraltar, Corfu and Albania--Sleeping Dogs makes for a captivating Mediterranean read. In exploring the dark legacy of Albanian Communism, Corfu's turbulent history and Spike's own tortured memories, Thomas Mogford (Hollow Mountain) has created a deliciously atmospheric novel that belies its bright and sunny settings.

I really enjoyed this one - perhaps even more than Hollow Mountain. Corfu in this book is a very different world from Corfu in Mary Stewart's This Rough Magic (which is the only other book I can think of with a Corfu setting). 

If you have trouble jumping in mid-series though, you might want to go back and start with Mogford's earlier titles first! I started with book 3 -- Hollow Mountain -- but the first book is called Shadow of the Rock. Before I started reviewing for Shelf Awareness I'd never jump in mid-series, but nowadays there just isn't enough time to always go back to the beginning of every series. 

I've gotten used to picking up on the threads of earlier plots; and actually I think it makes it easier to objectively review a book if you haven't read the whole series. You're not as invested in the characters, and you can judge whether or not an author sufficiently explains back story.

Do you jump in mid-series? 

I originally reviewed this for Shelf Awareness.