Set in Amsterdam, the novel introduces Lotte Meerman, a Cold Case detective still recovering from the emotional devastation of her previous investigation. A tip-off leads Lotte to an unresolved ten-year-old murder case in which her father was the lead detective. When she discovers irregularities surrounding the original investigation that make him a suspect, she decides to cover for him. She doesn't tell her boss about the family connection and jeopardises her career by hiding evidence. Now she has to find the real murderer before her acts are discovered, otherwise her father will go to jail and she will lose her job, the one thing in life she still takes pride in . . .
About Anja de Jager (https://anjadejager.com)
I am a London-based native Dutch speaker who writes in English. I draw inspiration from cases that my father, a retired police detective, worked on in the Netherlands.
A Cold Death in Amsterdam is a smart and engaging police procedural about a Dutch detective struggling to come to terms with her past.
–The Sunday Times, review by Joan Smith: ‘[Meerman’s] painstaking police work is undermined by emotional turmoil in a novel brilliantly evoking the isolation of a woman with an unbearable weight on her conscience’.
–Sunday Express, review by Jake Kerridge: ‘The book succeeds as a portrait of both a city and, in its heroine, a delightfully dysfunctional personality.’
–The Times, review by Marcel Berlins: ‘An impressive debut… De Jager is as good on dodgy family relations as she is on police procedure.’
–Irish Examiner, review, : ‘Anja de Jager’s debut novel is a tightly written, cleverly plotted whodunit that keeps the reader guessing almost to the last page.’
–The Independent, review by Barry Forshaw: ‘de Jager manages to circumvent the overfamiliar. The evocation of a bitterly cold Amsterdam is worthy of Nicholas Freeling’s Van der Valk books.’
–Irish Independent, review: ‘A promising debut novel with a very different background.’
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I found Lotte Meerman just the sort of complex character that I like in a book. She has enough personal issues going that would label her as maybe too dysfunctional for her role as a police detective, but for me the personal issues gives her a passion that appears to be her main driving force when she has the bit between her teeth on a case.
Working on a cold case, still traumatised by her previous murder case, she discovers that her father a retired detective inspector may be implicated as being paid-off by the suspect to lose vital evidence.
Lotte puts her own job on the line to protect her father.
I loved the atmosphere and descriptions of life, and found myself Google imaging some of the places that Anja de Jager describes. The Alkmaar police station looking like a cruise ship for example is an incredibly accurate description. The whole flavour and the spirit of the Netherlands captured me, leaving me wanting more. Heck, I may even need to go there for a visit. I look forward to reading more of Lotte Meerman and more from the pen of Anja de Jager.