I’m honoured to be hosting for the Night Market blog tour. I have written a review, which is below, but also thought it would be fun to hear from the author himself, Daniel Pembrey. Rather than telling us about his writing, I suggested to Daniel that maybe he could tell us a bit more about Amsterdam, in particular, shopping! So if you’re likely to visit Amsterdam, here are a few places that Daniel thinks you should check out.
Seven shops in Amsterdam – all very central!
- Bloemenstal ‘t Lievertje
Who can resist beautiful, fresh bouquets of flowers? And you’re pretty much at the source here. (A large share of the cut flowers sold in Britain comes from Holland.) Spui 7, 1012 WX Amsterdam +31 20 627 9062
The American Book Center claims to be the largest independent source of English language books in mainland Europe; certainly it has an English crime fiction section second-to-none on the Continent, in which you might just find a certain Amsterdam detective series … Spui 12, 1012 XA Amsterdam: +31 20 625 5537
No one does design quite like the Dutch, and the home products here have been specially designed to enhance daily life. There are limited edition pieces, each with a story to tell, as well as fashion, books, music and more. Staalstraat 7B, 1011 JJ Amsterdam 31 20 217 0100
- The Maritime Museum shop
Here you’ll find an array of maritime-themed gifts. You don’t need a museum ticket to get in, though you may want to check out the museum itself; its glass ceiling rivals the British Museum’s. Kattenburgerplein 1, 1018 KK Amsterdam 31 20 523 2222
Yes, you can still find C&A here in Amsterdam – in fact you can find several. The flagship is at Damrak 70, 1012 LM Amsterdam. It recently reopened after extensive refurbishment, and is evidently quite the crowd pleaser …
- De Bijenkorf
‘The Beehive’ dates back to the nineteenth century, but is now owned by the company behind Selfridges. Still an Amsterdam institution, in Dam Square, it offers a distinctly Dutch experience. Go see … Dam 1, 1012 JS Amsterdam 31 800 0818
7. In de Olofspoort
Now this is as much a bar as a shop, but you can buy bottles of gin here, and if you’ve made it this far, you deserve a drink. Nieuwebrugsteeg 13, 1012 AG Amsterdam, 31 20 624 3918
Thank you, Daniel, especially for checking if C&A still exists. Takes me back to my ‘yoof’.
But what about the book, I hear you cry? Well, ok then…
When Henk van der Pol is asked by the Justice Minister to infiltrate a team investigating an online child exploitation network, he can hardly say no – he’s at the mercy of prominent government figures in The Hague. But he soon realises the case is far more complex than he was led to believe… Picking up from where The Harbour Master ended, this new investigation sees Detective Van der Pol once again put his life on the line as he wades the murky waters between right and wrong in his search for justice.
Sometimes, to catch the bad guys, you have to think like one. . .
At the end of The Harbour Master, Henk van der Pol was in limbo. Going back to his old police job didn’t look likely but there was an offer of a new undefined role. In Night Market, we find out that role.
Night Market is a very intriguing title. I assumed that maybe there was an actual night market in Amsterdam. Maybe there is but this title refers to a much more sinister and selective market found on the Dark Web – child exploitation. Although Henk has covered many different crimes in his career, he had avoided child abuse. But this time, he isn’t joining a team to investigate the suspects but to investigate the investigators. And in order to do so, he has to move to Driebergen. Pembrey’s description of the small town surrounded by forest, is less fairy tale and more claustrophobic. Finding himself shut out of the new team by suspicious officers, Henk does what he always does best and goes rogue. Switching between Norway, the Netherlands and London, van der Pol discovers a tangled web of lies. And in amongst it all, there’s something niggling Henk, something that he can’t quite remember.
There is a general sense of unease and underlying tension for Henk in the first part of the book. Not only is he stuck in a place he dislikes, spying on fellow officers, his marriage is also suffering. Without Petra at his side, Henk flounders and takes more risks than normal. When he returns to Amsterdam, it feels as though we are all back on solid ground. Of course, it doesn’t stay that way for long with new lines of enquiry to follow and ghosts turning up unexpectedly. Add to that, van der Pol gives up smoking and we have one very jittery police officer.
As each part of the book was originally a novella, there’s plenty of plot and the pace is fast throughout. The atmosphere is aided and abetted by Pembrey’s rich descriptions (I loved ‘jelly-pink’ sky). As much as I love Henk van der Pol as a character, Petra is the real unsung hero for me. Maybe she could have a little spin-off?
Although Henk finds some of the answers he was looking for, the story is by no means complete by the end. Van der Pol will return. But will it be Henk or Petra?
Night Market is already available as an e-book and it comes out in paperback tomorrow. Please click here to buy/pre-order.
About the author
Daniel Pembrey grew up in Nottinghamshire beside Sherwood Forest. He studied history at Edinburgh University and received an MBA from INSEAD business school in France. Daniel then spent over a decade working in America and more recently Luxembourg, coming to rest in Amsterdam and London — dividing his time now between these two great maritime cities.
He is the author of the Henk van der Pol detective series and several short thriller stories, and he contributes articles to publications including The Financial Times, The Times and The Field. In order to write The Harbour Master, he spent several months living in the docklands area of East Amsterdam, counting De Druif bar as his local.