Daniel Pembrey has again tackled the difficult issue of human trafficking and the sex trade. His current novella takes place in the Netherlands, in and around Amsterdam. The question that presents itself is where is a line drawn between legal practice of prostitution and the illegal practice of forcing young women into a “career” they neither sought or wanted.
The drama when an almost retired police detective that is present when a body is discovered floating in the canals that define much of Amsterdam. Before it is through, he will need to question the commitment of his colleagues on the force, be concerned for the safety of his family, wonder how high in government the criminal element has it corrupt fingers, and, perhaps, question his own sanity.
The picture Pembrey draws of Amsterdam is vivid - and more than once forced this reader to check out the background upon which the book is written. At various points I was looking at the history, architecture, and geography of a country and city with which I was not familiar. My personal journey into Google and Wikipedia, as I followed the story added to my appreciation for the author's skill.
Though Pembrey does a credible job of writing a police drama with a collection of vile and evil crooks and a police force standing against the evil they perpetuate, he has not offered a strong voice standing against prostitution in general. The author only loosely connects prostitution in general to the issue of human trafficking for which it serves as the foundation. Choosing to place his current drama in a country where the sex trade is legal, allows him to avoid that larger question.
This review is based on a free electronic copy provided by the publisher for the purpose of creating this review. The opinions expressed are my own.