Here's my review of Daniel's crime novel The Harbour Master, which was published in paperback on 10 November 2016.
The Harbour Master
By Daniel Pembrey
Published by No Exit Press (E-book - out now; Paperback - 10 November 2016)
Henk van der Pol is a 30-year-term policeman, a few months off retirement. When he finds a woman's body in Amsterdam Harbour, his detective instincts take over, even though it's not his jurisdiction. Warned off investigating the case, Henk soon realises he can trust nobody, as his search for the killer leads him to discover the involvement of senior police officers, government corruption in the highest places, Hungarian people traffickers, and a deadly threat to his own family...
Originally The Harbour Master was self-published as three separate novellas with the same protagonist in each - covering murder, smuggling and kidnapping. Thanks to No Exit Press, these have now been combined together in one book, which works well as several interconnecting threads weave throughout the three stories.
The first chapter sets the scene, tone and high quality of the book. Policeman Henk van der Pol is present when a woman's body is discovered floating in the river. Although warned off by his superiors because it's not his case, he becomes intrigued by the investigation. Gradually unravelling what seems to be corruption in high places, Henk isn't sure who he can trust.
The author, Daniel Pembrey, has lived in Amsterdam, which gives The Harbour Master a very authentic feel - taking the reader right into the heart of the Dutch community with its vivid descriptions of people and places. I've never visited Amsterdam, but this book certainly makes me want to boost it up my holiday destination list.
Henk is a great character, with a wealth of experience behind him and plenty of determination to get to the truth, although this means he's not always well liked by his colleagues. I liked how his family take a key role within the book, rather than simply playing a supporting one. Henk and his journalist wife Petra are contemplating retirement, but these new cases threaten their long-term plans.
The Harbour Master is multi-layered crime fiction, with excellent writing and fascinating insights into Dutch politics, history and culture. There's also some dry humour to lighten what are some quite dark plots.
A book to recommend to intelligent discerning crime fiction fans!
I received an Advance Reader Copy.
December First Monday Crime
Come along to December’s First Monday Crime Christmas Special panel to hear the finest crime authors in the business. Sponsored by No Exit Press, this HUGE event has TWO panels and a BIGGER venue!
Your chance to listen to Mark Billingham, Yrsa Sigurdardottir, Alex Marwood, Paula Daly, Daniel Pembrey and Corrie Jackson - with Barry Forshaw.
On December 5th at Brown’s Courtrooms, 82-84 St Martin's Lane, London WC2N 4AG.
After the panels, everyone will eventually spill over into The Salisbury pub, right next door, so the festive fun can continue!
Book your tickets here.