In the latest Harbour Master story, maverick Amsterdam cop Henk van der Pol roves further afield, to Rotterdam, Antwerp and Brussels – investigating a maze-like set of cases involving diamonds, fine art, drugs and high-class prostitution. What connects the cases, and what risks must Henk run to uncover the criminals? Impeding him is his rival and boss Joost, who has an equal but quite separate interest in the investigation’s outcome. Upon discovering the connection between the cases, Henk must confront challenges at a higher and more dangerous level of the Dutch state.
"Pembrey is a master of short form fiction. His snappy dialogue, tight plots and varied European settings guarantee a fast, enjoyable read that is hard to put down."
Paul Pilkington, author of the bestselling Emma Holden series (Hodder & Stoughton)
I read and enjoyed Daniel Pembrey’s earlier Harbour Master novella back in May. Our return visit sees Henk under pressure from above. He has a bit of a persecution complex going on with his boss. Hey – just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you! His relationship with his wife seems solid though at times she’s not impressed by continually taking second place to the job. His connection to his daughter and her new Russian boyfriend, seems as difficult as previously. Nadia does have time for him, but only when she is after something in return.
We begin when Rem Lottman, a Dutch politician who moves and shakes it in EU circles in Brussels, calls in a favour from Henk. He wants him to smooth any difficulties when a Ghanaian diplomat enters the country, avoiding any custom’s scrutiny. Henk agrees in the belief that he can use Lottman’s influence later to get Joost off his back and recover some measure of control over his investigative unit.
As before we have a fast paced narrative with a lot going on…….stolen art work, smuggled diamonds, a dead Norwegian diplomat, a beaten prostitute, a Ukrainian biker gang, an old-school Dutch crime lord living on a boat and harvesting a £30 mill cannabis crop, politicians, corruption, military police…… to mention just a few strands.
Satisfying how much Pembrey packs into the tale in a short period of time – 100 odd pages, whilst still allowing our main man a life outside of his job. Character depth is important otherwise I have little interest in the outcome. Pembrey delivers again!
I can’t see that our author will endear himself to the Amsterdam tourist board with his depiction of this Dutch city! It worked for me though.
4 from 5
My review of the earlier Harbour Master tale is here. There’s a third installment entitled Ransom due out in December. I have already pre-ordered my copy.
Daniel Pembrey’s website is here.
I received my copy of this from the author in return for an honest review.