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Sinterklaas, a beaming, friendly saint with a white beard, was set to mark his arrival in Amsterdam with a parade so celebrated it would be watched live on television throughout the Netherlands. Today the crowds would run into three hundred thousand or more, and the police presence top four figures. The city centre was closed to all traffic as a golden barge bore Sinterklaas down the Amstel river, surrounded by a throng of private boats full of families trying to get close.' Amsterdam is bursting at the seams with children trying to get a glimpse of their hero and families enjoying the occasion. The police are out in force, struggling to manage the crowds on one of the busiest days of the year. Brigadier Pieter Vos is on duty with his young assistant, Laura Bakker, when the first grenade hits. As Sinterklaas prepares to address the crowds a terrorist outrage grips the heart of the city. In the chaos a young girl wearing a pink jacket is kidnapped. But the abducted child isn't the daughter of an Amsterdam aristocrat as the terrorists first thought. She's the daughter of an impoverished Georgian prostitute, friendless and trapped in the web of vice that is Amsterdam's Red Light District. As the security forces and the police clash over the ensuing investigation the perpetrator's horrifying demands become clear. Vos, trapped in a turf war with state intelligence, tries to unravel a conspiracy that reaches from the brothels of the city to the hierarchy of the security services. And at its heart lies an eight-year-old girl, snatched from a loving mother then ferried from one criminal lair to the next, her life in the balance as Vos and Laura Bakker struggle to uncover the shocking truth behind her abduction. What is the life of one immigrant child worth in the greater political game emerging around them?
David Hewson is the author of 10 novels in the highly acclaimed Detective Nic Costa which are currently being adapted for TV. He is also the author to bring the highly acclaimed Danish TV crime drama The Killing to the literary market place. David's new detective crime series is set in Amsterdam, commencing with The House of Dolls, which published in 2014. Formerly a journalist working for the Sunday Times, The Times and the Independent, he lives in Kent.