Thursday, July 9, 2020

#BookReview: Utrecht Rain by Jonathan Wilkins


My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars

Maaike Meijer is attacked in a senseless outbreak of violence at the Dom Tower in Utrecht. Her brother, Freddie, fights off the assailants, but how is the brutality linked to a series of violent threats, cyber crime and the Dutch Secret Service? 
Truus Heda continues her work as a private investigator whilst caring for her lover before finding the missing link. As the nightmare unfolds we enter the world of Serbian gangsters and Utrecht Goths and see how Hoofdinspecteur Caes Heda and his overworked team tackle a crime that could consume the city



Utrecht is a city in Netherlands ( Holland ) and so the story is set in the Dutch society. I think it is better to know the setting beforehand so one can get used to the differences in the writing & way the city works from the other countries. It also gives an atmospheric sense to the story which has a lot of  mystery elements.This book has a few terms and words from the Dutch language used frequently in the story . This can be understood from the synopsis also but it more clearly established in the first few chapters and  after a while one gets comfortable with the same.

The story starts with attack on Maaike & her twin brother Freddie. Caes Heda is the head inspector for them and also is father of Maaike's girlfriend Truus. The police has not recovered from the attack when the city is hit with two bank robberies involving sophisticated technological knowledge and then a brutal murder that leaves no clue for the victim behind. Only thing linking, maybe two of the crimes is that they are done by masked men , dressed in all blacks and no one ever see them leaving the crime scenes. There is a rich heir , corrupt businessmen , personal investigators and also secret agency involved in the mix and it is never clear who is pulling what strings in this. This is a good police investigation story in all possible ways with all threads closed neatly in the end.

But what makes this book more of an interesting read is the details of the personal lives of the characters. Maaike & Truus have a beautiful relationship and it felt so natural to see them take care of each other physically and emotionally when Maaike is recovering from her nightmare. Then we have Caes still coming to terms with the loss of his wife ten years ago by therapy and with help from his daughter & friends. There is a strong emphasis on engaging in activities that keeps one busy and also healthy to deal with all personal demons and it was such an inspiring aspect of the story. Caes's team in the police station are all different from each other and the author sets those details carefully. there is a human side to most of the people which make them relatable to the reader. Apart from their professional lives , the personal interests and conversations between some of the characters were so good to read. It had an overall positive vibe towards life even in the face of all the crime & voilence.

In a lot of ways , the book felt more like a slice of life mixed with mystery than a usual formula based book. I enjoyed all the characters and would like to keep reading more books in the series.

My only complain is from editing where the pronouns were suddenly mixed and it was a little abrupt. Plus some of the place names were a little hard to track in the beginning but once the story picked up, I did not find them concerning any more. It is though something some of the readers might find as a deterrent.


Purchase Links: Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2VnE1Xk
Amazon US: https://amzn.to/3g0pKYz

About Jonathan Wilkins: Jonathan loves to write. He is a retired teacher, lapsed Waterstones’ bookseller and former Basketball Coach. He taught PE and English for 20 years and coached women’s basketball for over 30 years.
He regularly teaches creative writing workshops in and around Leicester.

Social Media: Twitter: https://twitter.com/WriterJWilkins
Website: www.jonathanwilkins.co.uk

View all my reviews

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