Half way through

I’m halfway through my two weeks of house sitting today. During that first week I read one book, Violet by Scott Thomas. I wasn’t able to read more because I was on a course of medicine which side effect was that I wasn’t able to concentrate on anything for very long. I took the last tablet on Thursday and since then my mind has quieted down again.

I really enjoyed Violet, last year I read Thomas’ debut novel Kill Creek and really enjoyed that. In Violet a mother and daughter go to the mother’s vacation home after the husband/father has died. The mother hasn’t been to the vacation home since her mother died thirty years ago. Things start happening, but the question is whether they are paranormal or mental health related. It isn’t a quick paced, bloody horror story. It’s a slow burner, where from the start you sense things aren’t right. Normal I don’t like bereavement horror stories, these last couple of years they’ve been done to death IMHO. But since I really enjoyed Kill Creek I thought I would give it a try and I wasn’t sorry.

After finishing Violet I started The House of Dolls, by David Hewson. It’s the first book in the Pieter Vos series. It’s set in Amsterdam and the main character is Pieter Vos, a former police detective who retired early after his daughter’s disappearance. When another girl disappears, Vos is called back to assist. I was a bit apprehensive to start this series. I really enjoyed the Nic Costa series by Hewson, but then I don’t know Rome. I do know Amsterdam. It’s only a 20 minute train ride from my city, I studied there and still go there a couple of times a year for show, shopping or a day at the museum.

I recently watched a tv series set in Amsterdam, Baptiste, and while I enjoyed it the portrayal of Amsterdam and the Netherlands in general was very stereotypical. Anything outside of Amsterdam is the backwards countryside with simple people. Amsterdam itself if criminal and there’s not much more than the red light district and the coffeeshops. I understand that a crime series focuses on the criminal aspect of Amsterdam, but a more balanced view would be nice.

Hewson does touch on these preconceptions and without being explicit he makes clear that there’s more to Amsterdam than weed, sex workers and criminals. One of the characters is a probationary officer from the rural province Friesland. Everyone thinks she’s a backwards bumpkin, but Vos sees her potential and takes her under his wing.

I’m just over a quarter into the story, but I’m really enjoying it. We’re in the middle of a heatwave, which will last until at least Thursday, other three days, so I can’t sketch or cross stitch (I might get sweaty hands and stain my project). So there’s not much more to do than read and watch tv. I also won’t have to work today and tomorrow, and since I’m getting up at 6 am to walk the dog (it’s still cool and quiet, so I can take her on a longer walk) I have enough time to read.

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