Posted in BOOKS

Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff

Looking for a great thriller to bring on your trip to Greece (or wherever) this summer? Check out ‘Dead Olives’ by Jeremy Hinchliff, a thriller set in Greece.

Meet Author Jeremy Hinchliff

Jeremy Hinchliff was born in South Africa but has spent much of his life in England. For the last few years, he’s lived in Messinia, Greece.

He became interested in Greece as a kid reading an old book of Greek myths his father had. Jeremy developed an early love of Homer. He studied ancient Greek through school and college and spent much vacation time in Crete. Over about 20 years of spending time in Greece, he not only fell in love with the country, but he also learned Modern Greek.

Jeremy started writing songs at sixteen and did that for about 20 years. A few years ago, he began writing and publishing short stories. Dead Olives is his first novel. 

Author Jeremy Hinchliff lives in Greece.

Inspiration for Dead Olives

As the Crisis hit Greece in 2008, he was a librarian in an Oxford College, which includes some of the earliest printed books – including Greek. After moving to Greece, Jeremy saw first-hand Greeks and African migrants in Greece both struggling to make a meager living. Jeremy spoke about how the economic crisis and other issues in Modern Day Greece inspired Dead Olives.

“It was just too weird to have the evidence of how influential Greece had been culturally in my hands at work. But then I’d see reports on the BBC of Molotovs in Exarchia and Χρυση Αυγή (political party Golden Dawn) doing Nazi salutes and beating up immigrants, Greek families losing 40% of their wealth, scavenging on rubbish dumps, emigrating, etc. I was fed up with my job so went to live in Messinia and began writing.”

He said he wrote the book to provide another perspective on the Crisis.

“I wasn’t really writing it for Greeks, of course, as they know more than enough about the situation in their country. But I suppose I felt somewhere in the back of my mind that it was for Greece, to commemorate a lousy situation. I wanted something to get into English language fiction about the Greek Crisis. It’s a country that everyone in Europe spends time in on holiday. We have many current affairs reports about Euro Working Groups, and so on, but I wanted there to be something a bit different than that. Of course it’s for Greek writers who really know the Crisis to write the best fiction on it, but I wanted to have a go for any lovers of Greece whose first language is English. Also just for my own sake. Writing fiction is what I do. It was nice to write some set in Greece as it kind of picked up threads of my interest in the place which I might otherwise have lost.”

About Dead Olives

Dead Olives is a fictionalized account of how the financial and refugee crises are affecting Greece today. It takes place in various locations around today’s Greece—Athens, Kalamata, and three small villages.

The economic crisis that hit Greece in 2008 caused major dislocations to Greek society. The austerity measures imposed, in an effort to meet Greece’s staggering debt obligations, have led to high unemployment and cuts to pensions, as well as cuts in medical and other social services. As the economy worsened, many young, educated people with skills left Greece further compounding the situation for those left in Greece. Additionally, the last few years have seen a massive influx of refugees from the Middle East and Africa who often live on the fringes of Greek society and have difficulty assimilating.

Throughout history, societies facing severe economic hardship have often looked to blame outsiders. Greece has done a remarkable job coping with the extreme difficulties it has faced. However the Crisis has given rise to a new wave of nationalism and xenophobia, which has led to the rise in the popularity of Chrisy Avyi (Golden Dawn) party. This subject is visited in Dead Olives.

Dead Olives follows the lives of Filoxenia and her beautiful sister Anassa trying to make a living in Athens as well as the migrants Samwells and Sunday Ngone who are struggling just to get by.

The two sisters and two migrants get caught up in events at the FlyKing Hotel in Athens. The effects of these events spread to other parts of the city and the small town of Pano Petro.

Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff cover

Dead Olives, a novel set in Modern Day Greece, is available on Kindle.

Review of Dead Olives

Jeremy Hinchliff did a spectacular job drawing me into the characters and the story, which personalized the plight of Greeks and migrants in Greece in a very interesting way. Each character has an interesting story to tell. Not only will the story draw you in the way all good thrillers do, but Jeremy Hincliff’s eye for detail and his ability to craft a sentence make this a great read.

There are also several interesting historical bits written by a character in the story – historian George Sthenos. For instance, I learned about the language riots of 1901 from these passages.

Having spent time in Athens and Kalamata as well as small towns in Greece I found the author really captured the spirit and atmosphere of Greece.

If you are looking for a well-written book to take with on vacation this summer, try Dead Olives by Jeremy Hinchliff. It’s a great book to bring to the beach in Greece, or if you can’t make it to Greece but would like a book that will evoke the atmosphere of Greece, you’ll find this really fits the bill.

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