Archive for the ‘Crime Fiction’ 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: Don’t Try to Find Me – Molly Brown

Friday, August 1st, 2014

Reviewed by Sara Raap

I have to be honest here, when I saw that Don’t Try To Find Me by Holly Brown was recommended for those who loved Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn I was intrigued. But does this book live up to Gone Girl, a book that people seem to love or hate, not much in between?

Marley is a fourteen-year-old girl from a happy, normal suburban family. Dad Paul is a control freak, and mom Rachel is a homely wife with a job to keep her occupied. They have no money troubles, they live in a nice former farm in a small town; in short, everything seems to be well.

But then Marley disappears, leaving behind her iPhone, iPad and a note on the whiteboard in the kitchen, telling her parents “Don’t Try To Find Me”. Of course they don’t listen, and Paul starts an online campaign, using Facebook and Twitter and a special website to draw attention to their lost daughter. Rachel seems lost, not knowing what to do or how to react. Soon it is revealed that she has her own secrets, secrets that made her lie to the police about where she was the morning Marley disappeared.

The book follows Marley and what happens to her, and Rachel in her own struggles and search for Marley. The twist in the story is not as shocking (or sick) as the one in Gone Girl, but for me, that made the story more real. Marley is a pretty grown-up fourteen-year-old, maybe a bit too grown-up to be realistic. However, Rachel’s side of the story felt very human and very realistic. Partly this is because of her flaws; she is not a perfect mother or wife. It is also because the other people in the story, Paul and others, react in very human ways. Everybody is flawed but everybody tries their best.

I read this book in one day, it is a quick read. On the one hand that is because it is not very surprising, it is a ‘real’ story. On the other hand, it doesn’t need to be anything else, it is good as it is. I would recommend this book to those readers who like real-life drama, and those who felt that Gone Girl was just a bit too much. I enjoyed this book, and give it four out of five stars.

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

Read more of Sara’s book reviews on her blog, divinenanny.nl.

An ebook of Don’t Try to Find Me is available here.  There’s also an ebook of Gone Girl.


You Review a Local Author: The Price of Peace – Ron Muyzert

Saturday, July 19th, 2014

Reviewed by Sheila Schenkel

It’s Wednesday morning and Dutch diplomat Rob Ginsberg is on his way to the West Bank. He’s on a mission to find out what’s happening with a large sum of money collected on Dutch streets, now that it’s being transferred to a political movement called New Palestine. It’s the beginning of a full-on spooks story.

Khalil Abu Hassan, leader of New Palestine, wants peace. As soon as possible. Peace for the Palestinians, peace with the Israelis, peace for future generations. And yet he’s under suspicion of using the € 75,000 donation for terrorist acts.

Visiting Abu Hassan at Birzeit University, Ginsberg ends up in the middle of the planning of an attack on Israel. As always, the questions are: who’s behind the attack, and when and where is it going to take place? When Ginsberg offers a ride to Abu Hassan’s assistant Lidia Shamas, he sets off on the infamous Path of No Turning Back.

Whilst unfolding the story of the donation, author Ron Muyzert lifts the veil of history, sharing his factual knowledge of Israel and the way its politicians ensure a state of their own. While diplomat Ginsberg’s story is fictional, he learns stories from the past that are real. Muyzert manages to keep that balance. Unfortunately, the characters as well as their dialogues remain a bit wooden.

The Price of Peace could have done with a few side stories. Perhaps the love story of Ginsberg and his Dutch girlfriend could have been given some more depth, or perhaps we could have gotten some more insight into the relationships of his boss Paul Kramer?

That being said, this book makes a very interesting read — especially if you’re at all fascinated by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

You Review a Local Author: Books with an orange connection, reviewed by ABC customers.

The Price of Peace was first published in Dutch, as De prijs van vrede, by Uitgeverij Van Gennep (2012).  Ron Muyzert is a senior diplomat in the Dutch foreign service. He served as Ambassador in Bolivia and Cuba. From 2000 to 2003 he was Head of the Dutch Representative Office in Ramallah.  He launched the English translation of his book at ABC The Hague in March 2014.

The Price of Peace is self-published on ABC’s Espresso Book Machine.