Amsterdam Noir

edited by Rene Appel and Josh Pachter

Rene Appel is known as "the godfather of the Dutch psychological novel." I first "met" him by email in 2005, when EQMM editor Janet Hutchings asked me to find and translate a Dutch story for the magazine's "Passport to Crime" feature, and my old friend Theo Capel recommended Rene as the right person to approach. My translation of Rene's "Bloody Hot" appeared in August 2006, and I later translated another of his stories for EQMM, one for AHMM, and one for The Mammoth Book of Best International Crime (Robinson, 2009). We also collaborated on a story, "A Woman's Place," which was in the September/October 2017 issue of EQMM.

In 2016, I became aware of Akashic Press' terrific City Noir series of anthologies and proposed Amsterdam Noir to them. Publisher Johnny Temple and Managing Editor Johanna Ingalls wrote back enthusiastically, but they agreed that there had to be a current Amsterdam resident on board as co-editor. I asked Rene if he'd be interested, he was, and we set to work.

We wound up with a collection of fifteen terrific stories by authors including Herman Koch, Christine Otten, Hanna Bervoets, Mensje van Keulen, Walter van den Berg, Max van Olden, Simon de Waal, Loes den Hollander, Murat Isik, Annaloes Timmerije, Abdelkader Benali, Karin Amatmoekrim, my old friend Theo Capel and my more recent friend Michael Berg. Rene and I also contributed another collaborative story, "Starry Starry Night."

With the exception of "Starry Starry Night," which Rene and I wrote in a mix of Dutch and English and helped each other translate back and forth into both languages, the other stories were all written in Dutch. For the American edition, I got Herman Koch's regular translator -- my friend Sam Garrett -- to translate Herman's contribution and my old friend Maria De Bruijn to translate Simon de Waal's, and I translated the other twelve stories myself.

The book was published in Dutch by Ambo|Anthos in May 2018 (and can be ordered here), and the English-language edition was published by Akashic in January 2019 (and can be ordered here).


Booklist: "Editors Appel and Pachter take an interesting approach to the structuring of this entry in Akashic's Noir series. While the chapters in many of the books in this series are arranged geographically, here the storiesare grouped according to their thematic similarities to four classic films noir: Out of the Past, Kiss Me Deadly, Touch of Evil, and They Live by Night. Not only does this approach make the stories more accessible to readers who have never been to Amsterdam and don't know the authors, it also works well as a kind of cross-format read-alike tool. In all, a strong group of notably dark tales of murder and mayhem."

Kirkus: "Taking the road less traveled is a winning strategy for the editors. The 15 dark takes they've collected provide a variety of methods, motives, and menace, while their movie-themed chapters anchor the varied menu firmly in the noir tradition."

Publishers Weekly: "This anthology of 15 short crime stories features superior writing from authors largely unknown to an American audience."

CrimeFictionLover: "... the latest in Akashic Books' long-running series of place-based crime anthologies. If this enterprise is in part intended to give a flavour of the locale under the authorial microscope, this collection is another success. Collectively, these Euro crime tales give you not just an impression of the city, but a sense of the residents' character as well."

Return to Bibliography.