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The Lion of Leeuwarden by Wijbren van Tuinen

 

Leeuwarden. The cold capital of Holland’s dairy country. His mother took him out of its criminal scene. The death of his father pulled him back in.

This time Pieter de Leeuw will not stop for anybody or anything. It is better to reign in hell than to serve in heaven.

Note: The Lion of Leeuwarden contains some graphic violence and harsh language.


A serialized novel, updating monthly

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Listed: Feb 10, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

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Editor’s First Impression

By Fiona Gregory, editor

Feb 17, 2013: I like the idea of a crime novel set in Friesland, in the Netherlands. Not the place that immediately comes to mind when thinking of organized crime, it makes a refreshing change from New York or Chicago or London. Apparently the northern city of Leeuwarden has a seamy underside, and Dutch writer van Tuinan seems well equipped to take us there.

This is a vengeance story. Disturbed by his father’s violent death, young Pieter charges in to track down his murderers – only to almost share the same fate. It seems that to get anywhere, he will have to follow his father’s footsteps into the employment of the avuncular crime boss, who gives advice such as " Most people are so afraid of pain that they crumble at the slightest threat of it. Those are the people that get crushed. You can’t rely on them."

So far the story has kept me interested. If there was more posted, I would have kept reading. I enjoyed the descriptions of the setting, which lets me see this place I’ve never been more clearly, but maybe integrating them more tightly into the narrative would alleviate some of the issues Wildbow (see Member Reviews) experienced.

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Most Helpful Member Reviews

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By Wildbow, author of Pact

Feb 10, 2013: "The buildings on the left side of the street used to be rundown and graffiti-covered refuges of drug addicts while those on the right side housed the adult bars and small neon-lit rooms where scantily-clad women of all nationalities plied their trade in monetized affection. "

The above quote is a single sentence from chapter one, and provides a sample of some of the exposition one might find in ‘Lion of Leeuwarden’. It’s hard to read, and that’s a problem, especially because it’s not an isolated case. Such exposition leads into virtually every scene, with some pieces better written than others.

The action and pacing is good enough, but the presentation and word choice make it a difficult read, to the point that I wonder if English isn’t the author’s first language. There’s too many overcomplicated/’smart’ words and overwrought sentences when simple ones might do, and this couples with the long, foreign names (Leeuwarden, Adriaan, Johannes) to interrupt the already iffy flow of the writing.

Hard to recommend, but the glimpses of the underlying, interwoven story threads and vigilante anti-hero suggest that there’s a decent story in there. With a reader willing to look past the writing or some attention from a proofreader/editor, the story could be worthwhile.

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