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The Devil's Playground by Stav Sherez
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The Devil's Playground

by Stav Sherez

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The Devil’s Playground – It Really Is!

The Devil’s Playground was Stav Sherez first novel originally published back in 2004 this paperback edition is from 2014. Having read this book and enjoyed it, it is very easy to understand why this book was shortlisted for a CWA Award personally I would have awarded it! Set in Amsterdam this book as a thriller not only examines the dark underbelly of this city where anything and everything is available for a price it also examines one of the darkest periods in recent European history the Holocaust.

This book also is able to question how much we really know about ourselves and how deeply we look back at our own families and cities. As a historian I often point out the Germans alone did not march Jews to the cattle trucks they had local help. Yes that means you France and you Netherlands large numbers of Jews were sent east with your citizens help. It also makes us examine what happened at the end of the war when some Germans and Ukrainians took on others identities to escape the allies and live out their days.

A body turns up dead in a park in Amsterdam and he has a book belonging to Londoner Jon Reed in his pocket along with his telephone number. Detective Van Hijn asks him to come and identify the body of Jake Colby who may have been part of serial killers known kills. He had taken Jake in as a house guest after taking pity on him and found that they were both Jews who knew little or next to nothing about their Jewishness. Jake went to Amsterdam to find out more and it is in that search that kills Jake and draws Jon in to an investigation that could end in his own death or that of those around him.

As he digs deeper he finds that the mystery is about 49 reels of film from Auschwitz that are up for auction and the hunt is on to find them. These reels are wanted by all sections but those that want them the most seem willing to kill to get them. With the help of his American girlfriend Suze he is able to uncover the truth about what has been going on, will it be enough to keep him and Suze alive is a different matter.

For a debut novel this thriller packs a punch and has a terrific pace about it there are no wasted sentences or descriptions. This is a wonderfully structured novel that has been well researched, written with understanding some reverence and not afraid to deliver the knock out blows when required. A great deal of intelligence and care has been taken and the clear prose used makes it a delight to read. This is a powerful novel worth every minute you spend reading and it is almost a shame to finish it. Worth the time worth the money and leaves you wanting to read more from Stav Sherez. ( )
  atticusfinch1048 | May 16, 2014 |
Didn't finish this book - the in depth description of people and events side tracked the story for me. ( )
  missytack | Jul 18, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0718146484, Hardcover)

When the body of an old tramp, Jake Colby, is found in a secluded Amsterdam park, Dutch detective Ronald Van Hijn is convinced this is the work of the serial killer stalking the city. Except all his previous victims were young, female and beautiful.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:07 -0400)

"When the strangely scarred body of a tramp is discovered in a secluded Amsterdam park, Dutch police detective Ronald Van Hijn believes that this may be another victim of the serial killer currently terrorizing the city. On the corpse Van Hijn finds contact details for Jon Reed, who identifies the victim as Jake Colby, a stranger he took off the streets and into his London home a few weeks before. Yet it soon becomes clear that Jon didn't choose Jake - Jake chose Jon - and the longer he stays in Amsterdam the more Jon needs to uncover the truth. Was Jake really a tramp? And what revelation about his identity led him to a life on the streets? As Jon's new girlfriend introduces him to the seedier side of Amsterdam, he and Van Hijn begin to see connections between the recent murders and the appearance of alleged Holocaust footage on an illegal internet auction site. Could Jake's death be the key to it all? And did his fate lie not in the hands of a serial killer - but in the horror of the death camps sixty years earlier?"--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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