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Walter Eekhaut (his name rhymes with "stakeout"), a veteran of the Belgian police force who has a problem with authority, is dispatched to Amsterdam to aid the Dutch security service in investigating the activities of a well-connected Russian oligarch, with connections to Putin. Some of the Russian's business is certainly legitimate, but some may well not be. In Amsterdam, Eekhaut is seconded to Chief Superintendent Alexandra Dewaal and her team, and begins to learn about the city's shady underside. 

He is at once pulled into another case, the murder of a young leftist dissident, alleged to have stolen a sensitive list from the Amsterdam offices of an ultra-right-wing political party—a list with the name of secret donors. The hunt for the killer leads to a knot of black money interests and illegal dealings that pit the Russian mob and Dutch politicians and business leaders against the police and anyone else who tries to get in their way. 

Absinthe is the gripping first installment in the bestselling Amsterdam trilogy featuring Eekhaut and Dewaal and, for North American readers, a new voice in European noir.

 

Skyhorse Publishing, New York, 2018. 

 

Reviews

 

“Eekhaut’s gripping thriller, the first in his Amsterdam trilogy, introduces Belgian Chief Inspector Walter Eekhaut. . . . Fascinating.”―Publishers Weekly

"Tense, up-to-date Euro-political intrigue, topped off with that rarest of gems: a satisfying finale."—Three-time Emmy-award winning writer Jim Houghton.

"The genre doesn't get any better than this. Absinthe is intoxicating."—John Enright, author of the Jungle Beat Mystery series.

"This book could not be more timely. A riveting read in which the Russians support ultra-right-wing politicians and undermine democracy—much more fun than the newspapers and no less scary. Most enjoyable."—Theodore Riccardi, Professor Emeritus, Columbia University, and the author of The Oriental Casebook of Sherlock Holmes.

"In Absinthe, Guido Eekhaut has masterfully produced a gripping political thriller. Readers could not ask for more: a clever, if slightly tarnished, detective; shadowy assassins; shady Russian financiers; and a controversial missing list of names. And all set in Amsterdam in all of its glory and darkness. It adds up to a mystery tour-de-force that is impossible to put down once you dive in."—Allan Levine, award-winning author of the Sam Klein series.


 

"In his latest novel . . . Guido Eekhaut writes about today's clear and present danger facing Western democracies emanating from the mixture of dirty politicians and organized crime. This is a work of fiction but all too realistic. Indeed the new threats to Western democracies no longer comes from ICBMs but rather from crooked bankers and business men in fancy suits. The West may have won the Cold War but the threats are finding their way into the very temples of capitalism, the banks."—Claude Salhani, author of Inauguration Day.

"Eekhaut's award-winning novel, pitting a small force of Belgian and Dutch detectives against the might of Russia's criminal oligarchs and far-right-wing politicians, is a tour de force in Europe's dark literature. Convincing, gripping and utterly realistic, Eekhaut populates his book with characters and situations which will stay with you long after you’ve finished."—Alan Gold, author of the internationally-successful The Jericho Files and the best-selling The Lost Testament

"The surprise of this spring. It is original and shows considerable stylistic skills."—De Standaard

"Intelligent and exciting."—Crime Zone

"Eekhaut presents us with lifelike characters, not heroes in the hard-boiled tradition, but human detectives plagued by doubt."—Knack magazine

"A Belgian detective worthy to follow in the footsteps of Poirot! Political intrigue, an atmospheric venue, and rollicking action from beginning to end!" —Paul J. Heald, author Death in Eden and Cotton 

"A subtle, engaging and very timely thriller.”—Michael Marshall Smith, author of The Intruders .

 
Eekhaut can write like the best and the English translation of this thriller proves that. A must-read for everybody who wants to get out of his or her comfort zone and try something deliciously new and dark.
— Charles Collins
Riveting thriller I enjoyed.
— K. M. Winick-Ford
There are many thriller writers in the book world and it is refreshing to find a new one. Guido Eekhaut’s novel had me hooked from the very beginning which led to a very satisfactory end. I thoroughly recommend this well structured story to Amazon readers.
— Garry Kilworth
I lived in Amsterdam for three decades. The city really does have a shady side, and this book depicts it well. Recommended to anybody wanting action and atmosphere.
— G. K. Berger
With half the US spellbound by an investigation into Russion election meddling, and right-wing nationalists growing an ever-greater presence in parliaments across Europe, this thriller could not be more relevant, or timely. (Eekhaut wrote the Dutch version of this book a decade ago; whether this signifies prescience on his part, or tells us the current developments aren’t as sudden as they seem, I leave as a reader exercise.)
Confidently paced and with much attention to character development, Eekhaut tells the story of how one murder develops into a broad-ranging investigation into the ties between a right-wing nationalist political party, immoral corporate interests, and Russian mafia.
A worthwhile read for anyone interestedin—and concerned about—current European and American politics!
— Floris Kleijne
Yes, there’s a lot going on here with more murders on the horizon. There are also so many central characters that I had to start writing them down. That said, their histories are fascinating and the story keeps the reader engaged on so many levels. We experience the seedy side of Amsterdam which sets the dark mood for this contemporary police procedural/political thriller. Even though there are a lot of elements, the pace is quick.
Ultimately we are reminded of the continual Russian interference in Western democracies. This hits close to home for all of us, which helps to make Absinthe a relevant and captivating read.
— Underrated.com
Eekhaut’s Absinthe is a terrific little thriller and Eekhaut — the cop, not the author of the same last name — is a likable enough jerk for anyone who doesn’t have to work with him.
— Winnipeg Free Press.