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…
Whilst I’ve chosen ‘Just Read…’ as the standard lead in to book reviews, as a lot of the books I get through are on audio (although not this one) and a number are catching up on older, outstanding reviews (such as this one), then it’s becoming increasing regular that either ‘Just’ or ‘Read’ aren’t quite accurate. Never mind, I’m sticking with it.
The Harbour Master is one of those novels that does a brilliant job of completely transporting you to another place; in this case, Amsterdam. There are quite a few Dutch names (places and people), and I’m sure my mental pronunciation of them is awful, but they all add to the atmosphere. Daniel skilfully describes Amsterdam and creates a sense of place, but not at the cost of story.
As noted in the book blurb above, Henk van der Pol is approaching retirement, but he’s not planning on going quietly. When you’re a grizzled detective who’s discovered a body, what else are you going to do other than poke your nose in? But it’s soon clear that there are bigger things at play here, things that put Henk’s family’s life in apparent danger.
Daniel introduces some great characters in The Harbour Master, not least Henk van der Pol, and coupled with the sense of place I mentioned earlier, creates a story with a strong realism. I’m pleased to recommend this book, and have added its sequel, Night Market, to my TBR list.