Tuesday, April 19, 2011

23. Hard Rain by Janwillem van der Wetering

Hard Rain is the fourth and last of the pile of Grijstra and de Gier procedurals a friend of mine with a child dumped on me. I found all four to be really enjoyable and it is a series that I would always be happy to return to, but at the same time, I am quite happy to have these four off of my on-deck shelf.

Hard Rain was published in 1989, but other than the use of a computer modem, things don't seem to have changed much in the world outside of the Amsterdam murder squad. Amsterdam is still a fairly rough-and-tumble city, with a lot of drug abuse and petty crime. However, inside the squad, serious corruption is taking hold. At the beginning of the book, the Commisarius, who is Grijpstra and de Gier's boss, is coming back from a "relaxing" vacation, when he learns that the director of a bank has killed himself. The principal shareholder of the bank is an old enemy of his. He also learns that this investigation, as well as several others, have been bungled or shut down by the commissioner in charge during his absence.

This time, the Commisarius, who is in really the main protagonist of this story (and for that matter, referring to these books as the "Grijpstra and de Gier Series" is inaccurate as the Commisarius and Constable Cardozo feature just as much as those two; it should really be called "the four cool and incorruptible guys in the Amsterdam murder squad series"), goes "off the reservation" with his team. Together, using unorthodox methods, they strive to take down the evil banker and the internal corruption. Along the way, there are the usual philosophical and slightly absurd conversations about life, work and art. There aren't quite as many interesting Amsterdam locales and locals in this one, but there is more focus on the Commisarius himself, which is pretty good as well.

Also, it's interesting that the Commisarius's first name is Jan and his main rival the banker's first name is Willem while the author's first name is Janwillem. Maybe this means nothing if you know a little something about Dutch nomenclature, but I noticed it, in any case.

One more good entry in a solid and enjoyable series.

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