Country Focus: Slovakia (Slovensko in Slovak)
Siren of the Waters
By Michael Genelin
My edition: Soho Press, 2008
About the author: Michael Genelin followed Siren of the Waters with three more crime novels featuring Commander Jana Matinova: Dark Dreams, The Magician’s Accomplice, and Requiem for a Gypsy. He lived in Slovakia for three years while working as an anti-corruption expert.
Genelin introduces his heroine, Jana Matinova, in this first of a series of crime novels based in Bratislava, Slovakia. Roughly half of Siren of the Waters is spent divulging Jana’s tragic past. As a young police officer in Czechoslovakia, she married Dano, a promising actor. A reckless confrontation with the Secret Police turns Dano into a outcast, gets Jana demoted, and sets off a cascading series of events that threatens to destroy the couple and their daughter. This subplot weaves into the main storyline, which involves human trafficking and an internationally feared über-criminal, Koba.
Jana continued to stare at the thug. The man looked down , pretending to be busy, pushing glasses around, moving bottles, only looking up after he realized that the police officer sitting in front of him was not going to go away.
“How did you know I was a police officer?”
“I’m good at that.”
“Lots of dealings with the police?”
Seges whipped out his pad and ballpoint. The thug’s bald head swiveled between the two cops, coming back to Jana as the one who presented a threat.