Throat of Glass
Grabs you by the throat
Peter de Zwaan writes about people on the fringe, lonely small-time criminals who become heroes, almost in spite of themselves. The author sees this as a challenge: ‘Just try to turn a down-and-out into an attractive character. It’s much easier with a superhero like James Bond.’
In Dutch crime literature, there are few skunks like Marc Johansz, the main character in a series of thrillers by Peter de Zwaan. This jack-of-all-trades does dirty jobs for thugs looking to cross the limits of the law. He picks up odd jobs like taking black money abroad or visiting old people to see if they can be evicted from their apartments.
Een keel van glas (Throat of Glass) is more than just the next book in a series. In previous books, Johansz was an insensitive type who seemed to have switched off his feelings. Now a glimmer of emotion appears. Our natural-born drifter turns out to be seriously ill: he has a malignant tumour on his vocal cords and must undergo radiotherapy. Johansz describes the pain like glass splinters being pressed into his throat, hence the title.
The book describes the two sides of Johansz’s life. On the one hand, there is the weekly radiotherapy, and on the other, his efforts to finally pull off a major deal in the semi-criminal world he inhabits. A complicated co-operative venture with an escort girl leads to a failed blackmail attempt, and the jackpot remains just as elusive as ever.