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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Shirley Valentine !
The Black Monastery is a grizzly whodunit affair that spans over 30 years on the tiny Greek tourist island of Palassos. Successful crime writer Kitty needs to get away from England, her failing marriage and even writing and so lands on this once simple island, now blighted by loud bars, drunken Brits (it always us, innit!) and drugs. Unbeknown to her, Kitty...
Published on 17 May 2009 by tallpete33

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Satisfactory
This is Stav Sherez's second novel, "The Devils Playground" being his first. The situation here is not altogether original; Brits holidaying abroad on an idillic Greek Island confronted with murder. However, the strength of the characters, particularly Nikos the Greek detective, and the pacing of the plot kept me reading through to the end. If you fancy a good murder...
Published on 20 Aug 2009 by Nick Huckle


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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Shirley Valentine !, 17 May 2009
By 
tallpete33 (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Hardcover)
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The Black Monastery is a grizzly whodunit affair that spans over 30 years on the tiny Greek tourist island of Palassos. Successful crime writer Kitty needs to get away from England, her failing marriage and even writing and so lands on this once simple island, now blighted by loud bars, drunken Brits (it always us, innit!) and drugs. Unbeknown to her, Kitty obsessive/stalker Jason had landed on the island the day before with the intention of giving her his manuscript and hopefully more...

Their timing was very bad however as teenage tourists were found mutilated on the altar of the black monastery. Their genitals and faces had been removed, their bodies stuffed with centipedes, identical to the murders of two young Greek boys in the 70s. Back then, two dozen hippies who lead a largely self-sufficient life in the island's bleak interior were blamed for their murder as part of a ritualistic sacrifice but did not face trial as they committed mass suicide in their tents soon after.

Officer Nikos, a tired and disillusioned veteran of the original crimes is brought back from the mainland with his wife at the request of Mayor Petrakis to solve the identikit crime and restore normality to the island. Crime writer Kitty can not help but get involved to her own cost, followed around by the unquestioning but rather morose Jason. The more they delve into the present and past, the more dark secrets are revealed and the island's sensitive history is rewritten by the policeman's investigations.

The plot develops thick and fast, becoming quite "labyrinthine" and occasionally confusing at times with quite a large cast and you may find yourself back-tracking at times to check who's who. There is not much levity in here and none of the characters are particularly cheerful or likeable but I believe the author wanted quite a dark atmosphere for the book which he certainly attained. That said, you are kept guessing until the end and fans of the genre will enjoy the gory details, twisting plot and final unveiling of the perpetrators of both sets of crimes. It is definitely one of the better crime books I have read though definitely not for the squeamish (7/10)
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Paranoid Paradise of Palassos (Sects 'n' Drugs 'n' Rock & Roll), 29 Nov 2012
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Kindle Edition)
I read The Black Monastery after I'd finished the author's more recent novel A Dark Redemption, a path that I imagine many others will follow as Carrigan and Miller's fan base expands. There are a great many similarities between the two books, notably each has a senior police officer with a dark secret in their past and each has a plot twist requiring the characters to make a choice between two paths/trails.
The story involves our two amateur sleuths, Kitty and Jason meeting on the sunny Greek island of Palasso, a tourist trap filled with drugs and discos' where once there was fishing and farming. A series of deaths, both recent and historic confuse both the police and our heroes, who are incredibly smart and incredibly stupid by turns.
The story does tend to become fragmented at times with chunks of text with limited relevance, however for the most part it is a gripping tale. I thought that by two-thirds of the way in I pretty much had the mystery cracked but I reckoned without the Sherez multiple twists in the tale!
Certainly The Black Monastery is well worth the read and I rather hope that Amazon will issue the rest of his novels as e-books or I may have to resort to buying them on paper!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Satisfactory, 20 Aug 2009
By 
Nick Huckle "The Sponge" (Somerset, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Hardcover)
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This is Stav Sherez's second novel, "The Devils Playground" being his first. The situation here is not altogether original; Brits holidaying abroad on an idillic Greek Island confronted with murder. However, the strength of the characters, particularly Nikos the Greek detective, and the pacing of the plot kept me reading through to the end. If you fancy a good murder mystery set in the sun and sea of the Greek Islands this book will certainly satisfy.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Black Monastery, 11 Dec 2009
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Hardcover)
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When detective Nikos arrives back in his home town, he finds himself faced with the gory murder of a young boy near an old monastery. Echoing two murders committed 33 years previously in the exact same spot, and a mass cult suicide, it brings back a part of the island's history that it has tried hard to forget.There is a lot at stake - the island's lucrative tourist trade and the open secret of the drugs trade that goes hand in hand with the hordes of mainly young British holiday makers. As Nikos begins his investigation, two British crime writers arrive on the island. The best selling Kitty Carson, on a break from the pressures of writing and her strained relationship, and Jason an aspiring writer whose aim is to strike up a friendship with her and convince her to help him get published. As the two writers are thrown together in an unexpected way, another murder is committed and Jason and Kitty are drawn into an investigation of their own. As they discover more about the island's dark past what began as a diversion becomes a dangerous pursuit.

I'm not usually up for reading straight-up mysteries or thrillers, since I tend to like mixed genres, but this novel was very good. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the tangible tension that pervaded the latter half of the novel. 'The Black Monastery' was in some ways, both a thriller and a mystery: with the story well constructed and well paced.

I really liked the characters, particularly Kitty and Nikos. They were all interesting with good consistent characterisation throughout the novel -- the light touches of humour were nice also.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't put it down, 29 Sep 2012
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Kindle Edition)
This was a gripping story- with a really good twist. Something a little bit different and dark. The characters were realistic and you could get to know them.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable, 19 July 2012
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Kindle Edition)
bought this as a have handy book in my kindle collection and was pleasantly surprised well wourth a read will also look for other book,s by this author
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Black Death, 9 Oct 2011
This review is from: The Black Monastery (Hardcover)
Macabre and grisly novel about a Greek policeman investigating the reoccurence of a seemingly cult-inspired series of murders after thirty years. Other characters include a sappy British tourist, a second-rate female writer, and a crazy priest.
The chapters are short and the whole novel isn't really that long; this is definitely in its favour as the book is a lame and predictable affair that unashamedly borrows genre tropes throughout.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More Stav Sherez Please, 26 Oct 2013
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Kindle Edition)
Different from his other books that I have read and it took me a little while to get into the story but once I did I couldn't put it down.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 Oct 2013
By 
Ms. Madeline Hackett "Maddy" (Derbyshire UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Kindle Edition)
Don't miss it. Fabulous wordsmith.An unusual and interesting plot. A very exciting new author. Read it in a couple of days.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crime thriller with an odd set of protagonists, 4 Feb 2013
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This review is from: The Black Monastery (Kindle Edition)
A wannabe writer, Jason, stalks his role model, a 'published' crime writer, Kitty, to Greece, hoping to hook up with her and have her read his book. He meets and becomes involved with some undesirable drug dealers and pushers when he arrives on the island and pours his heart out to them. There is an undercurrent of uncertainty over whether they will drop him in it with her. Her first introduction to the island is finding no taxi, having to walk through the dark streets to a hotel and being mugged and then rescued by him.

Kitty and Jason grow close through an unfolding story of a copycat murder on the island from years before. There are centipedes stuffed in mutilated bodies, a mysterious cult in the mountains and an underground labyrinth and disappearing priests. This is a very dark story indeed.

I found it difficult to like any of the protagonists, although Stav Sherez managed somehow to turn Jason, the stalker into a more sympathetic character through the course of the book (not an easy switch really). He also revitalised the worn out writer that Kitty had been by making her into a 'real life' investigator of the mystery of the black monastery. But I was disappointed in the rather depressed detective Nikos, who was investigating the crimes but given the hidden secret of his wife, it is not too surprising that he was depressed.
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