~Night Market by Daniel Pembrey~ Blog Tour~ Guest post

Hi everyone,

Today I’m thrilled to be hosting the lovely Daniel Pembrey, author of Night Market, his latest novel in the excellent Henk van der Pol series. Daniel has done a great post for today’s stop, which you can catch further down. Here’s all of the important bookish information first!

About the book:


When Henk van der Pol is asked by the Justice Minister to infiltrate a team investigating an online child exploitation network, he can hardly say no – he’s at the mercy of prominent government figures in The Hague. But he soon realises the case is far more complex than he was led to believe… Picking up from where The Harbour Master ended, this new investigation sees Detective Van der Pol once again put his life on the line as he wades the murky waters between right and wrong in his search for justice.

Sometimes, to catch the bad guys, you have to think like one. . .

Night Market by Daniel Pembrey

About the author:


Daniel Pembrey grew up in Nottinghamshire beside Sherwood Forest. He studied history at Edinburgh University and received an MBA from INSEAD business school in France. Daniel then spent over a decade working in America and more recently Luxembourg, coming to rest in Amsterdam and London — dividing his time now between these two great maritime cities.

He is the author of the Henk van der Pol detective series and several short thriller stories, and he contributes articles to publications including The Financial Times, The Times and The Field. In order to write The Harbour Master, he spent several months living in the docklands area of East Amsterdam, counting De Druif bar as his local.

To receive occasional email updates and offers of free exclusive content, please sign up at http://www.danielpembrey.com. Daniel is also on Twitter, @DPemb.

KM: You just interviewed Michael Connelly for The Telegraph, [Investigate a different side of Los Angeles by Daniel Pembrey]  – and Titus Welliver, who plays Bosch *swoons*! Was Bosch a big influence on your own detective fiction?


DP: Very much so. I pretty much conceived my character as a Dutch Harry Bosch – which is sort of ironic, given that Hieronymus Bosch was a Dutch painter – but I couldn’t find that type of police detective story when I began living in Amsterdam, so decided to write what I wanted to read.


Michael Connelly in Los Angeles


KM: I have to ask you right away: what is Titus Welliver like?


DP: Very down to earth, for a prominent Hollywood actor. I visited the night time set where they were filming an outdoor chase between Bosch and the bad guy in remote, wooded terrain; in the story, it takes place on an island off the coast, but it was in fact shot in LA’s Griffith Park. Titus was calling his wife between takes, saying goodnight to his kids. He’s clearly a big family man …  a seriously cool guy.


KM: Bosch began 25 years ago, a lot younger, but your character, Henk, starts off close to retirement. Why did you make that choice?


DP: Generally I’m more interested in older characters. They have life experience, and mental scars, and tend to be more complex. It’s more engaging when they have to use their cunning and street smarts to take on a villain. It’s the same with Ian Rankin’s Rebus character: a physically imposing guy who was in the SAS, but who is now older, who has to use his contacts and wiles. That’s a more interesting character to write. How do you feel as the reader?


KM: Well, I agree … though a physically in-shape man has a certain appeal too!


DP: Henk van der Pol can still look after himself, physically. But your point is a good one, so I can reveal for the very first time here (*drum roll*) that I’m working on a new story – a novella, to start with – in which Henk is at the start of his career, in 1983. He’s a young man in a hurry, chasing after the woman, Petra, who is to become his wife, and working on the infamous Freddy Heineken kidnapping that year. The working title is Henk 83.


KM: Ooh, I like the sound of that! Has it been done before – writing an earlier version of an established detective character?


DP: I also just interviewed Jørn Lier Horst in Norway (coming soon to another newspaper near you!), and his latest book, When it Grows Dark, takes his William Wisting character back to 1983 too. Mankell did a similar thing with Wallander, in The Pyramid.


Jørn Lier Horst in Stavern, Norway


KM: Fab. So when will ‘Henk 83’ be out?  


DP: All being well, later this year. Hopefully in time for Christmas. It takes a lot of of research. I’ve tracked down one of the police detectives who ran the Heineken case. I’m also watching ‘80s Dutch films; it was a different city then, much more edgy. There was open drug use in the streets, people lived in squats. Canal-side houses, which now go for millions, are vacant.


KM: The location is key for you?


DP: It really is. This was something else I learned from Connelly and his use of Los Angeles for Bosch, which I wanted to explore in that Telegraph article. Rankin, Edinburgh and Rebus; Horst, Vestfold County and Wisting. These characters not only inhabit their settings but also grow organically from them.


KM: Can location be restricting?


DP: Possibly, eventually. Connelly rotates his characters – he has Haller, the defense attorney, and a couple of others. For me, it was important that my character could get out and rove around the Benelux region (and beyond). So his investigations take him to Brussels, Antwerp, London, and even Norway – William Wisting’s beat, as it happens.


KM: But he returns Amsterdam.


DP: He does. It’s his beat. And it’s a great beat to have.


Photo by Dirk Bakker

The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey

About the book:

Henk van der Pol is a 30-year-term policeman, a few months off retirement. When he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour, his detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his jurisdiction. Warned off investigating the case, Henk soon realises he can trust nobody, as his search for the killer leads him to discover the involvement of senior police officers, government corruption in the highest places, Hungarian people traffickers, and a deadly threat to his own family…

Click HERE to get your copy!

My thoughts:

I’ve decided to cheat on my TBR a little and I’ve had Daniel’s book on my TBR for ages. I had the pleasure of meeting him last year at an event in Goldsboro Books so I figured it’s high time o read this book. Especially as the follow-up, Night Market, has been released this year and I’m on the blog tour for it late next month.

The Harbour Master follows Henk van Der Pol as he finds himself in the vicinity of the discovery of a young woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. What follows is a story of murder, corruption and human traffickers and Henk is unsure of who he can trust.

I really enjoyed the sense of place in The Harbour Master. I’ve never been to Amsterdam but Daniel Pembrey paints a very vivid picture with his words and it sounds like a city that I would love to visit.

The story itself is actually deceivingly detailed. There are many different threads, and when woven together, form a much bigger picture that the reader couldn’t possible come up with on their own. At times, I found this hard to follow, but it didn’t deter my enjoyment of the story at all. I was highly intrigued as to the why and the who throughout.

The Harbour Master goes in directions I wasn’t expecting, but I was pleasantly surprised. I read it in less than 24 hours, the time passes very quickly once you become immersed in the book.

I look forward to reading Night Market and catching up with Henk van der Pol. For fans of Eurocrime with a noir undertone, The Harbour Master is definitely one to add to your list!


Daniel Pembrey and Susi Holliday in Conversation…

Hi everyone,

Happy Halloween!!! And do I have a treat (see what I did there?!?!) for you guys!!!

Today, I have not one, but TWO fabulous authors stopping by Bibliophile Book Club to have a chat about Halloween, horror and their books!

So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Daniel and Susi….

Daniel Pembrey and Susi (SJI) Holliday talk Halloween, horror and their book covers

Happy Halloween, everyone. I’m debut novelist Daniel Pembrey, and I’m here with the wonderful Susi Holliday, who just did a fabulous cover reveal for her upcoming novel The Damselfly. Now before we begin, you must all come and see us both (and Amanda Jennings, Thomas Mogford and Sarah Ward) at Waterstones King’s Road tomorrow evening, 1st November, if you’re anywhere near Central London. It’s free (free wine!) and begins at 18:30:



 Click this link to pre-order Susi’s book —> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7RBU7W


DP: Okay, your new cover is an absolute stunner, and calls to mind such genre classics as Silence of The Lambs and John Fowles’ The Collector. Were those associations conscious in your mind (or the designer’s mind)? Or would you name other, perhaps quite different titles as key influences on your stories?

SH: Thank you! You’re spot on. I am a huge fan of Silence of The Lambs, and have been weirdly obsessed with the whole insect thing ever since. I knew that one day I would write a book that would lend itself to having an insect on the cover. It’s nicely creepy, isn’t it? Intriguing too. I hope at least one person might wonder about the significance of this particular insect and how it fits into my story.

DP: And for those who haven’t read the first two books, could you briefly explain the names of all three titles in the trilogy?

SH: Well … Black Wood is actually a real ‘wood’ quite near the area where the real town is that my fictional town of Banktoun is based on. I spotted it on a map and thought it was a perfect fit for the story. Willow Walk is a street in the town where my husband grew up. A nice, sleepy street in a picture-postcard town. I have a street called Willow Walk in the book. BAD THINGS happen there! I like that there’s a nature theme running throughout.

DP: I’ve read both and they’re brilliant books … So The Damselfly is available for pre-order now, for release on 2nd February?

SH: Yep, both e-book and print are out on the same day this time, which hasn’t happened before. I’m excited!

DP: So am I. We’re all looking forward to that. Thank you!

SH: Hang on, DP. What about your new book? The Harbour Master … That’s quite a coup getting a quote from Susan Hill. She wrote my favourite ghost story! I’m not going to suggest that you might have paid for it or anything like that, but how exactly did you get such a fabulous author to say such nice things about you?


Click this link to get your copy of Daniel’s book —> https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I4ALTDE/


DP: Ha! She generously read my first published novella, a ghost story set in the American South, which she looked kindly upon. This was all arranged via a manuscript assessment organisation called The Literary Consultancy. I was lucky because Susan Hill rarely reads – and blurbs – other books. And it’s a bit of a creepy cover with that body in the water, so I’m very grateful for her name being there, above!

SH: Incredible. I’ve read that ghost story too. It’s excellent, actually. You’re pretty good at this writing lark. This body, though. It’s totally creeping me out. What’s that all about?!

DP: Thank you! Honestly, initially I had reservations about the design, but my publisher got strongly positive feedback from bookshop chains (and one in particular). Importantly for me, it’s highly plausible that someone could end up floating in that part of Amsterdam harbour. The Harbour Master stories grew out of a feature article I wrote about trafficking in the Red Light District. I was invited on an undercover operation there with the Dutch National Crime Squad. The majority of sex workers are from elsewhere; one street, Molensteeg, is known as ‘Little Hungary’. How do they get there? Varying levels of coercion, essentially. A lot of it is psychological, but inevitably some is physical. The woman depicted in the water is called Saskia and, in the story, she got on the wrong side of a violent Hungarian pimp. To know more, you’ll need to read the book!

SH: I’m reading it right now! I do love the way you manage to absorb the reader into the setting. You’ve done that with everything of yours I’ve read. You’re not bad, DP. Not bad at all. You’re pretty good at holding drinks too, as it goes. Anyway, this book of yours … it’s available now as an e-book? At a special introductory price, right?

DP: I try my best with the drinks-holding! That’s right, the introductory reduced Kindle price lasts until 8th November. The print book launches on November 10th.

SH: Excellent. I hope it flies off the shelves … which would make a pretty good talking point at Waterstones King’s Road, wouldn’t it. See you there. I’ll be the one dressed like a skeleton!


DP: Indeed. And I’ll be Dracula – Regency-era! His creator, Bram Stoker, lived two streets from that Waterstones. Thanks Susi, and let’s thanks the lovely Kate as well for having us!

Buy The Harbour Master here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01I4ALTDE/

Pre-order The Damselfly here: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01M7RBU7W/

And for more about the Halloween event at Waterstones King’s Road in London, please go here: https://www.waterstones.com/events/compass-points-in-crime-panel-event/london-kings-road

Big thanks to both Daniel and Susi for joining me on the blog for this brilliant chat! Make sure to check out the Waterstones event, and definitely check out the books!

Happy Halloween everyone…