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Book Review: Peccadillo by Martyn Halm

Book Review: Peccadillo by Martyn Halm

It's Book Review Wednesday (my favorite day of the week), and I'm bringing you a book I read MONTHS ago but have only just now gotten around to reviewing. Trust me, it was well worth the wait! Note: This is Book 2 in the Katla Sieltjes series by Martyn Halm


Still recuperating from injuries sustained in Reprobate, freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, finds herself at war with the Kau Hong, a gang of ruthless criminals who will stop at nothing to get their hands on Sphinx Shipping. The potentially lethal situation quickly becomes untenable, when victims fall on both sides, and a Hong Kong sniper arrives to team up with a mute enforcer from the competitive 14K Triad. Amsterdam might prove too small for Katla to play hide and seek, when her enemies match her skills in search and destroy... PECCADILLO 2 Peccadillo is the second novel in the Amsterdam Assassin Series. With authentic details and brisk action against the backdrop of the notorious Dutch capital, featuring a devious heroine and a supporting cast of singular characters, Peccadillo gives a rare glimpse into local Dutch culture, Chinese Triads, computer hacking, sniping, clairvoyance, circumventing car alarms, martial arts, the psychology of social engineering, and the brutal efficacy of disciplined violence.

My Review: 5 Stars

When I cracked open the first book, I didn't think I'd enjoy it. I was wrong. Obviously I had to pick up Book 2 to continue the story, and I'm very glad I did. I'd compare Peccadillo to some of the better Tom Clancy novels I've read. It's a fast-paced, intriguing, and well-crafted story, with all the rich details that make the world come alive. The information presented in the book is clearly heavily researched. The author has taken the time to understand their character's world (assassin for hire) with all the tricks and gadgets of a modern world. I wasn't a fan of the romance angle in Book 1, but it's grown on me in this book. I actually enjoyed the interactions between Katla and Bram. It deepens the book and makes it more personal. One of the best books I read in 2016, and I can't wait to dig into the third book in the series!

Here's a Taste:

A twinge in his kidneys announced the onset of cold turkey. Chang put down his paperback novel, ordered a bottle of mineral water from the friendly blonde stewardess, and dug the arthritis pills from his carry-on bag. According to the pharmacy label, the pills contained three percent morphine and twenty percent codeine, while the actual amount of morphine was closer to sixty-five percent and the codeine content virtually non-existent. Two would sustain him until he arrived in Amsterdam and put his hands on some high-grade heroin. The stewardess returned with a bottle of Sourcy and a plastic cup. Chang swallowed the pills and picked up his novel again, searching the page for the last paragraph he’d read. Bought in a bookshop at Hong Kong Airport, the ‘critically acclaimed blockbuster’ was not half as interesting as the drawing on the cover. After struggling through four more excruciatingly dull and unimaginative pages, he gave up and stuffed the novel in the pouch with the security pamphlet and airsick bag. Waiting for the morphine pills to do their work, Chang cranked back his seat, his gaze taking in the inflight movie. He didn’t bother donning the headphones. Through half-closed eyes, he watched a silent argument unfold between the main character and the female lead, and wondered if the actors themselves considered their expressions natural and realistic. To Chang the whole frantic cast appeared in dire need of sedatives. The dialogue would most likely be stuffed with snappy one-liners, rapid fire ripostes more irritating than funny. Despite the ventilation, the cabin air had a stilted quality composed of sour breath, body odour, sweat and that faint fragrance Chang always associated with the low-level panic that imbued cramped spaces filled with too many people. He closed his eyes, ignoring the slumbering ache spreading through his abdomen, and sifted through his memories for pleasant recollections. A child started bawling behind the tourist class curtain and his mind sent him the soldier, splashing awkwardly through a Cambodian rice paddy towards the safety of the lush forest, holding a bawling infant over his head as a shield against sniper fire. Chang sat in a tree, tracking the soldier in the crosshairs. Near the edge of the paddy, in the shade of the trees, the soldier lowered the child against his chest, exposing his head. The crack of the rifle followed a second after the 7.62mm bullet tore into the soldier’s brow and the back of his head exploded in a cloud of torn brain tissue and skull fragments. Not much blood, like with a neck shot, but a spasmodic twisting of limbs as the soldier fell headlong into the swampy waters, crushing the infant under him. The shot echoed against the green hills while the child drowned under the weight of the dead soldier. Chang opened his eyes. That one had been counted as one confirmed kill.

About the Author:

Martyn V. Halm lives in Amsterdam with his two children, two cats, two rats, and countless imaginary characters vying for attention. Writing realistic crime fiction is hard work, especially when you're a stickler for verisimilitude. When your protagonist is a seasoned killer, research can take you right up to Nietzsche’s abyss. Luckily, things get easier after the first few killings... Apart from being an accomplished prevaricator, Martyn already possessed an eclectic variety of skills that qualified him to write the Amsterdam Assassin Series. Skills he shares with his deadly fictional characters... Find the book on Amazon: Connect with Martyn on Facebook: Tweet at him: Check out his Quora: