Greek Effulgence at Its Best (Spoiler Warning)

“CIA Love Story in Crete” written by Roger Olivares is a fiction work that tells the story of Michael Brown, a CIA agent, who is sent on a mission to politically tremulous Crete, where terrorists lurk seeking to promote “justice” against the NATO and American bombings in neighboring countries. This interesting novel effuses a love for Greek culture, thereby efficiently painting the setting and is well paced in terms of the story’s suspense alternating with character development and history.

Michael Brown travels to Crete with Joan, his wife, to find possible existing explosives that may be owned by a “peaceful” group of street protesters; such explosives could harm innocent lives if not found in time. Michael’s first potential contact with the terrorists is Maria, a fiery Greek protester, who promises to be a witty source and a tempting contender for his heart and focus. Michael endeavors to unmask the traitors within the protest groups before any one of them have a chance to end national violence with an attack against NATO and America’s supply trucks en route to war. Can he also find a way to reconcile both of his loves for Joan and Maria?

First, because characters such as Joan and Maria have such a great respect for their Greek heritage, many singular aspects of Greek culture are revealed in a cherished fashion to the reader. As a result, the novel breathes out a realistic setting. Worry beads, roadside altars, and traditional Greek cuisine are detailed explicitly and lend credence to the novel’s realism. In addition, the novel is spotted with beautiful pictures of Cretan landscape and exact locations of certain scenes. Setting is one of the novel’s strongest points.

Second, although, the chapters are strangely short, focusing on only one aspect of a scene instead of the traditional whole, the pacing of the book keeps the reader wanting to know more. Both the love story and the string of events that bring Michael face to face with the terrorists are given equal share of space, presenting a good read to romantics and mild suspense lovers alike.

This novel is good yet not excellent. The characters do not have much depth, giving allowance to the reader to not care for the protagonist and other supporting characters as much as they potentially could. The dialogue and narrative parts of the story are somewhat uncomfortable at times. The moral dilemma in which Michael finds himself is almost forgotten and unimportant, carrying the reader on a wave of romantic muddle. Last but not least, because Michael is CIA, the reader expects to read so much more of his field expertise which is sadly lacking throughout the story’s pages. Apart from its faults, many can enjoy what Mr. Olivares has to share regarding Greek culture and storytelling.

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