Archive for the ‘Mysteries & Thrillers’ Category


Win a copy of John Grisham’s Gray Mountain!

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

“The Great Recession of 2008 left many young professionals out of work. Promising careers were suddenly ended as banks, hedge funds, and law firms engaged in mass lay-offs and brutal belt tightening. Samantha Kofer was a third year associate at Scully & Pershing, New York City’s largest law firm. Two weeks after Lehman Brothers collapsed, she lost her job, her security, and her future. A week later she was working as an unpaid intern in a legal aid clinic deep in small town Appalachia. There, for the first time in her career, she was confronted with real clients with real problems. She also stumbled across secrets that should have remained buried deep in the mountains forever.”

That’s right, John Grisham has a new title out: Gray Mountain.  And our friends at Random House spared us a copy to give to one of YOU! All you have to do to win is answer the following question:

You’ve read EVERYTHING by John Grisham.  Which author should you read next?

Mail your answer to win@abc.nl by December 17th*. Please include “John Grisham” in the subject header.

*Please note that we don’t answer the mails to win@abc.nl individually. The winner will be contacted after the cut-off date. The names of the winners and ALL answers are posted on this blog periodically in Prize Draw Winners posts.

Win a signed copy of The Miniaturist!

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

The Miniaturist is a fictionalised biography of actual 17th century people, and the author has done a remarkable job of recreating the atmosphere of the Dutch Golden Age, its febrile money-making, closed social and political circles and prudish mores. What begins as a gentle and intriguing mystery turns into a real high-paced thriller, both superbly handled. You can almost smell the streets.
I found this book so engrossing that while reading it on the train I missed my station – twice!”

So says ABC’s You Reviewer David Young about The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton.  That’s not all – Historical Fiction buyer PeterL recommends it as one of his section’s Gift Ideas, too.  A book you have to read, in other words…

Thanks to our friends at Pan MacMillan, we have a SIGNED copy to give away! You can win this copy by simply answering this question:

What book are you reading right now?

Mail your answer to win@abc.nl by December 3rd*. Please include “The Miniaturist” in the subject header.

*Please note that we don’t answer the mails to win@abc.nl individually. The winner will be contacted after the cut-off date. The names of the winners and ALL answers are posted on this blog periodically in Prize Draw Winners posts.

You Review: Lonely Graves – Britta Bolt

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Reviewed by Elysia Brenner

Lonely Graves by Britta Bolt opens with a literal splash – a body drops in the first sentence, and the rest of the tightly paced opening follows its unlikely progress through Amsterdam’s canals. It’s not a spoiler so much as a favor to warn you that this scene is a flash forward, and you won’t see this body again until you’re about one third of the way through the book. Now you can enjoy the pleasantly leisurely pace with which the book builds toward this moment. You’re welcome.

The story of Pieter Posthumus, a wannabe detective responsible for seeing unidentified bodies to dignified graves (apparently a real thing in Amsterdam), parallels an investigation into a potential terrorist cell in the Moroccan community, and characters’ plotted paths cross repeatedly – often without their knowing. The dialogue is deliciously Noir, but sometimes unconvincingly so –translated to English from the original Dutch with perhaps too much color for your average Amsterdammer. Still, the zippiness of the opening sequence is largely missing from the rest of the novel.

The plot’s steady, somewhat casual pace is actually quite suited to Amsterdam. In fact, the city is the book’s most enigmatic and deeply developed character. Every local will identify with the description of the shifting, turning map of streets that sees you go a different way to work than what you take home. Those from outside the city might, however, feel a little lost at times in the winding streets and cultural details. Plus, as the opener to a trilogy, not all the plot points are tied up by the end.

But the ultimate test of a first book in a trilogy is the question: do I want to read on? And, yes, I am curious about these characters… how their paths will continue to cross and how we might get to know them more deeply. And hopefully, as the next two novels progress (#2 has already been released in Dutch), that zippiness will creep back in. Chances are good, if the decision by UK’s Endor Productions to already snap up the English TV rights to the trilogy can be trusted.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Part 2 is out as Vastberaden in Dutch; no publication date has been set for the English-language version yet.

You Review: Edge of Eternity – Ken Follett

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

Reviewed by Catarina Queiroz

If you like to learn history in context, with a dash of drama and romance, this is your kind of book. Edge of Eternity is actually the final volume of Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy, so in order to fully appreciate it you should read the two previous books, Fall of Giants and Winter of the World. This last volume brings forth the powerful and passionate conclusion of the intertwined paths of the five leading families: American, Russian, German, English and Welsh. The multiple characters from the featured families put together the pieces of the historical context lived by our ancestors from the 60’s to the 80’s, forming an incredibly accurate and lively puzzle.

Love, jealousy and hatred play along with the tension of the Cold War. Families are ripped apart as the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War go on. Rock ‘n roll shakes things up, bringing free love and drug abuse to the spotlight, but also hope and redemption for those who can feel the beat of the music. Finally the fall of the Berlin wall destroys the last barriers, reuniting different generations of the same families and symbolizing the start of a new era.

The epilogue is especially moving, as old eyes and hearts, as well as their innocent offspring, witness the election of the first African American President of the USA. This moment is portrayed as the culmination of a “long story,” the story of the victory of equality, democracy and humanity over discrimination, dictatorship and brutality. In short, I would say that this book is a must-read for all historical fiction lovers.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

There is no ebook available of Edge of Eternity at this moment, but there are ebooks available of the previous books in the trilogy: Fall of Giants and Winter of the World.

You Review: The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

Reviewed by David Young

It’s late 17th century Holland, and Petronella (Nella) Oortmans’ father dies, leaving large debts which can only be paid off by marrying Nella to the 20 years older Johannes Brandt, a prosperous Amsterdam merchant.

As a wedding present Brandt gives her a doll’s house version of his magnificent Herengracht house, which Nella begins to fill with dolls from a local miniaturist. However from the dolls she receives it becomes apparent that the miniaturist knows a lot about the affairs of the Brandt household – not only that, she is able to predict its future…..

As the sexual activities and proclivities of Brandt and his mysterious and reclusive sister Marin begin to drag them down into a vortex of scandal, Nella finds herself whirled through a series of rapidly escalating crises which threaten the very existence of the Brandt family.

The Miniaturist is a fictionalised biography of actual 17th century people, and the author has done a remarkable job of recreating the atmosphere of the Dutch Golden Age, its febrile money-making, closed social and political circles and prudish mores. What begins as a gentle and intriguing mystery turns into a real high-paced thriller, both superbly handled. You can almost smell the streets.

I found this book so engrossing that while reading it on the train I missed my station – twice! A most promising debut and I look forward to Jessie Burton’s next novel.

You Review: The latest releases, reviewed by ABC customers.

Ebook of The Miniaturist available here.