LR#04: “After The Silence” by Jake Woodhouse

04-WoodhouseA man is found hanging under an Amsterdam bridge. The bodies of a couple are found in a burnt-down house in a coastal town and a child is missing. The crimes lead Inspector Jaap Rykel and a young female detective from out of town on a dangerous race through the darkest side of Amsterdam in their attempt to prevent further deaths.

I found this to be a fast paced and lively novel that pulls you into the life of Rykel and his colleagues. It’s a bit “twisty and bendy”, leaving you wanting to turn the pages and discover more. We have become quite used to, and desperate for, the recent Scandinavian crime genre and this book offers a little detour nearer home. The setting of Amsterdam is interesting and allows plenty of scope for villainy and various shenanigans.

This is the first instalment in a promised quartet of “Amsterdam” novels and is an engaging introduction to the series. All in all, I found it to be a good read. However, I have a few reservations; the cast of characters is quite long, with a good number popping up early in the story. This isn’t a bad thing as it helps to develop the sense of depth and confusion in the investigation; but it does make for some difficulty in keeping track of who is who. The relationships between some of the leading characters is also quite complicated and, perhaps, unlikely.

In some respects this is yet another police procedural story and has the, by now, standard departmental politics, frictions and resentments. Also, most characters have a “back story”, explained in varying degrees of detail, that show them as haunted/troubled/broken by their pasts. Can cops in fiction ever be simply “normal”?

These few gripes aside, this is an enjoyable and, ultimately, satisfying read.


My Rating: 3.0* out of 5.0*

PUBLICATION DATE: April 2014 (anticipated)

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