Bursting with adrenaline

‘I departed four days later, on the backseat of a police car. The door-to-door salesman I had taken to be a Serbian soldier disappeared in an ambulance in the opposite direction. The boxes were still in the hall.’ This is the abrupt ending of the romance between Bosnia veteran, Alex Fisher, and ‘his’ Helen, the girl he had just moved in with. Such abruptness is typical of the entire book. Written by the top writing duo, Escober, it is not without reason that the novel bears the title Chaos.

The main character, Fisher, gives an enthralling and distressing account of the last six months of his violent life. Like many others, he suffers post-traumatic stress syndrome after a peacekeeping mission in Bosnia, and this makes him a danger both to himself and to others. It is impossible to escape the past, and reliving the horror is inevitable. Fisher flees from normal social life and becomes involved in criminal drug activities that involve physical violence, clashes of arms, rough sex, acrimonious deals, and an almost total lack of mutual trust. During 300 pages, Fisher hustles through Europe, settling score after score in a string of blistering adventures.

Superficially, Chaos is a rough soldiers’ book in the Andy McNab tradition; it is written in a penetrating, captivating style, rhythmical and brutal. Under the surface, however, it furnishes a frank portrait of a damaged individual. Although the emotions may be raw and largely primitive, they have been recorded in a psychologically sincere manner; they are sadly authentic too, the fruit of meticulous research. In addition, the book has been composed in such a way that it does full justice to the term ‘thriller’: there are thrills on every page, and tension right up to the end.

The facts, obtained through painstaking research, have been perfectly elaborated in an impassioned, intensely fast and stirring narrative […] it has been realized so shrewdly and with such an absence of sensation that the blood-stained trail of indelible words and impressions remains entrenched in the reader’s mind.

De Volkskrant

An interesting view of the world of ex-soldiers, drugs barons, manipulation and extreme violence through the eyes of a man who does not understand what is going on and is actually only seeking repose.


Besides the plot that is as solid as a rock and the enormous factual knowledge of the authors, it is the insight into the soul of someone who has been to hell and back that elevates this book above its kind.

De Telegraaf

Chaos is bursting with adrenaline-boosting tension. Just like in a rapid action film, the explosive scenes whiz past in short sentences that resemble machine-gun salvoes.




Escober is the pen name of the married couple, Berry and Esther Verhoef. Under this name they have already written two action thrillers, including Onder druk (Under Pressure) which was awarded the Diamond Bullet, a Belgian thriller award. Verhoef has now been nominated three times for the Golden…

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Chaos (2006). Fictie, 319 pagina's.

Thema's: crime


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