Life in Amsterdam isn’t all windmills and tulips when you’re homeless. Jason Dekker lives in a jeep with his dog, Calvin, on the outskirts of the city. A thesis on Van Gogh brought him to the Netherlands, and the love of Dutch artist Willy Hart convinced him to stay. But Willy is gone, and Dekker is on the brink of a total meltdown.
On a summer morning in the park, Calvin sniffs out the victim of a grisly murder. Dekker sees the opportunity for a risky strategy that might solve their problems. Unfortunately it puts them directly in the sights of the calculating stone-cold killer, Gadget. Their paths are destined to collide, but nothing goes according to plan when they end up together in an attic sex dungeon. Identities shift, and events careen out of control, much to the bewilderment of one ever-watchful canine. Oscar Wilde wrote that each man kills the thing he loves. He didn’t mean it literally. Or did he?
David Swatling's novel—especially as an audiobook—has this progressive feel of claustrophobia to it that really adds to the creepiness factor. Beginning with such a fantastic start (seriously, the dog finds a body, the murderer finds the dog and his owner, and... sparks fly).
It's the psychology of this thriller that really got under my skin. The reader is well aware of the potential for disaster at almost every turn, and while we dance in the psyche of a pretty broken man, his dog, and a murderer, there's a seduction at play as well that left me twitching and seriously worried for all involved.
Swatling doesn't pull punches, doesn't deliver simple characters, and above all that, has written a thoroughly unique dark thriller here. It's good. It's engrossing. It's disturbing.
The performer at first felt a bit over-the-top, but once I got into the groove of listening to his voice, it worked in compliment with the tone of the book.
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