Peter de Zwaan

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.

Een keel van glas by Peter de Zwaan is by far the best Dutch-language thriller of the past year. […] A perfect example of what a craftsman can do with language.

HP/De Tijd

Peter de Zwaan

Peter de Zwaan (b. 1944) started out as a journalist and a children’s author, writing the Bob Evers series. In 1992, he produced his first thriller. In his recent novel, De voeder (The Fodder, 2006), his new - but equally spineless–hero Meeks lives and works in America. In 2000, Peter de Zwaan…

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Een keel van glas (1997). Fiction, 259 pages.

Themes: crime

Literary agent

Peter de Zwaan

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