Charles den Tex

Verloren vrouw

Tech thriller about identity and what can and can’t be made

In Den Tex’s cynical tech universe, a young woman goes in search of her identity. Is she a remote-controlled cyborg, or does she have an autonomous existence and past?

An exhausted man on his way home spots a beautiful young woman lying unconscious, covered in vomit and urine, in a dark alley between two buildings. He figures she’s probably had too much to drink or taken the wrong pills. Luc doesn’t have much faith in the emergency medical services and decides to take Djenna home. He undresses her, puts her in the shower and then to bed. Luc earns a living as a scammer. He acts as an intermediary in real-estate transactions, charging a cash fee and then vanishing without a trace, using false identities.

It turns out that Djenna has been the victim of two street urchins, Sem and Rafik, who were supposed to steal her cellphone. They slipped her a pill so that she wouldn’t be able to remember anything. But when they meet with their handler, Berry, to give him the phone and get paid, things go awry. He refuses to pay them the full amount before getting the PIN to unlock the device, but the boys are reluctant to give out the PIN until they’ve got their money. This mutual distrust culminates in Berry being shot dead, after which the boys have to try and hide from the powerful higher-ups that their handler was working for.

When Djenna regains consciousness, it turns out she has no memory of her past whatsoever. She and Luc set out in search of her identity. She discovers she is proficient in a martial art form that allows her to kill an opponent with a single blow – and that she enjoys doing it. So what is she – a sexy call girl or a cool-blooded, violent murderer?

Den Tex crafts this premise into a gripping page-turner, with the various players searching for each other and especially for Djenna and control over her brain cells.

It’s a skilful depiction of the potential harmful consequences of technological knowledge – a world in which one’s identity and one’s past can be bought and sold and where people can be transformed into remote-controlled fighting machines.

The main thing that strikes you is the pleasure with which he spins his web. You see it, for example, in the unparalleled way that he gives each character their own idiolect […] Worlds collide, but the distinct voices make each character credible.

de Volkskrant

Den Tex once again proves that he can rightly be called the Michael Crichton of the Low Countries.


Charles den Tex

Charles den Tex (b. 1952) is the Netherlands’ leading thriller writer. His work has won all the major prizes in crime fiction and has been translated into several languages. He was born in Camberwell (Australia) in 1952 and moved to the Netherlands in 1958. In London he studied photography and…

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Verloren vrouw (2019). Fictie, 384 pagina's.
Aantal woorden: 14.390

Thema's: crime


English (PDF document)


Harper Collins

Erwin Koning

[email protected]

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