René Appel

René Appel (b. 1945) had been reviewing crime fiction for a leading Dutch newspaper for ten years, when he decided to try his own hand at the genre. Both his debut thriller, Handicap (1987), and his second book, De derde persoon (Third Person, 1990), contained echoes of Patricia Highsmith, whom he introduced to the Dutch readership. He won the Gouden Strop (Golden Noose) Award for De derde persoon and again for Zinloos geweld (Random Attack, 2001). From 1994 until 2003 he was Professor of Dutch as a Foreign Language at the University of Amsterdam. Since 2003 he devotes his time almost entirely to writing. He has meanwhile published more than twenty crime novels and two collections of short stories. He has also written for children.

Random Attack

Random Attack

(Bert Bakker, 2001, 301 pages)

With his expanding series of psychological thrillers René Appel ranks among the best mystery writers in the Netherlands. His work has won him many plaudits, including the ‘Gouden Strop’ award for the best Dutch crime novel. But his success does not lie in his use of the ingredients of the typical blood-and-guts thriller. Appel writes psychological novels, in which ordinary people suddenly find themselves wrested out of their ordinary lives. ‘People do stupid things when they lose control,’ the author explains in an interview. ‘If you harass them long enough, if you hound them until they’re witless, they turn vicious. Even the kindliest person can be driven over the edge and…

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