- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Faber & Faber; Main edition (2 April 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0571244815
- ISBN-13: 978-0571244812
- Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.6 x 24.1 cm
- Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,289,441 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Black Monastery Hardcover – 2 Apr 2009
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A complex tale of greed, guilt and lust. -- Sunday Telegraph
A dark, disgusting, disquieting tale. -- Literary Review
A scorching read ... A bloody literary mystery (very bloody at times) set among the Greek Islands with not one but two writers embroiled in murky religious goings on and the usual elixir that comes with heat, sex and money. A terrific read, bursting with ideas, that leaves one jealous of the young Mr Sherez's talent.
-- Adrian McKinty, author of the The Bloomsday Dead
Atmospheric, faultlessly written, perfectly paced and thought-provoking... The Black Monastery is a thriller of the highest quality. Stav Sherez's prose is at turns terse and lyrical and every word is in exactly the right place. -- Crimesquad.com
Stav Sherez is one of my favourite living crime writers. The Black Monastery is superb; thrilling and thought-provoking in equal measure. -- Nick Stone, author of Mr Clarinet
A dark, disgusting, disquieting tale.See all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
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!
Nikos, Kitty and Jason are an interesting trio of main characters, and Sherez does a nice job giving each of them some substance, and creating tension, drama and intrigue both between them, and between each of them and other characters. The mystery plot bubbles away, keeping the reader interested, and overall I found it a book well worth reading.
Recommended for those that like a bit of atmosphere, history, and societal comment or insight woven into their mysteries.
Most of the really impressive writing is contained in the prelude; if you find it's a bit arty for your tastes then carry onto the main body of the text which isn't trying to hard to be literary, and so flows rather better. The chapters are short and punchy, and tend to end with a mini cliff-hanger to keep you turning the pages.
I was fairly dubious about the female lead character, because she is a thriller writer and it always seems to be a cop-out to have one of the characters as a writer or journalist. However, my initial grumpiness passed because she proved to be a good way to open out the mystery and bring in a note of vulnerability and an interesting sub-plot.
There's also a backdrop of modern day drug smuggling, plus a mystery in the detective's personal life, and the likelihood that the lives of the main characters could be greatly affected by the outcome of the investigation. As the truth is revealed, so the level of danger for all involved rises... and the reader never quite knows who might be the next victim. It kept me reading, and I enjoyed the outcome.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It's an OK read on holiday, but not really gripping no surprises.Published on 18 Mar. 2015 by Cathy
I found the story to be very slow, not the best crime story I've read. I can not in all honesty recommend this book.Published on 14 Dec. 2014 by Dennis Williams
If the book were half its length it might be interesting. It may be that I didn't find the subject matter interesting others may enjoy it,Published on 20 Feb. 2014 by B F H
Cracking read. Would recommend this for any whodunit enthusiast.. Unusual setting too but a tale that moves at a good pace throughout.Published on 25 Jan. 2014 by Paul O'Shea
An unusual and quite bloodthirsty story - without the traditional happy ending for a change. The story, to me, was quite feasible, and of particular interest as I live in Greec.Published on 23 Jan. 2014 by Graham Jones
This who done it kept me guessing until the end. The setting was a lovely distraction. I would recommend this bookPublished on 21 Jan. 2014 by margaret jones
A tad predictable, but provided a days holiday reading. Not good enough to make me want to seek out more by the author.Published on 20 Jan. 2014 by L. J. Atack
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.Published on 26 Oct. 2013 by Landlubber