This is billed as an action packed thriller and it is certainly that! The book starts with violently with a Police Officer being pursued by a man in a mask, his last thoughts that of his wife and his unborn child and his partner Inspector Japp Rykel. And this is just the start!
Set over a tight time-period of five days in the depths of winter it is Japp Rykel who has multiple murders, child abduction and a gang that import all types of nasties called the Black Tulips to contend with. This is in addition to the normal discontented and dysfunctional team and excessive demands from his superiors!
I was a little bit worried I had started part way through the series as there was references to Rykel’s past but this is the first book in the Amsterdam Quartet. Previously Rykel had a bit of a breakdown and went to Kyoto to find himself, later returning to policing. His method of coping mainly seems to involve tossing coins at the beginning of each day to predict what the day has in store for him. A device that seemed a little off the wall to me.
To be honest I found the multiple themes and violence in this book a little too much for my taste, the pace is fast and at first I found the characters quite hard to distinguish, although this eased as I got further through the book and their traits became more apparent but unfortunately none of them particularly held my interest. There was an overload of awful things that happened to those close to Rykel which although we were told had upset him, it wasn’t really apparent from his action. Later in the book a seconded officer mused upon her awful childhood and contemplated sharing her experiences with Rykel, but didn’t so the interaction between characters also seemed fairly superficial. It was all a bit grim, the ending even more depressing, if possible, than the pages that preceded it.
However, if you like your police procedurals fast and furious and would like to read one set outside the normal locations, this could be the book for you.
I received a copy of this book due to be published on 24 April 2014, from Penguin Books (UK) in return for this honest review.