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Friday, October 26, 2012

Pieter Aspe - bestselling Flemish author

In our little country, only one book genre makes it. Here you have to write thrillers if you want to sell.

We have one author in this genre who sells millions of his books. His name is Pieter Aspe.

After having done several odd jobs (and not getting a diploma from school) he began to write to spend his spare time... which resulted in his first thriller, Het vierkant van de wraak (in translation: The square of revenge).

The public immediately liked the book, and it sold by the thousands. Of course his publisher wanted a second book, then a third. He's up to his 31st in the series already, and by now he sells millions of copies. His novels are not only published in Belgium and Holland, but also in France, Italy, Germany and South Africa. Manteau, the publisher, is now trying to bring his first books to the American market. Btw, several months later I can already mention two of Aspe's novels are available on the American market: The Square of Revenge and The Midas Murders.

The books are easy-reads but still they are very well written. The main character is Commisaris (DCI or Captain) Pieter Van In, a middle aged man who is single when the series starts. His aide is Guido Versavel, a gay man. In their office also works a young woman. In the first books this is Carine, but when she dies of cancer, she is replaced by Saskia. In the first book, Het Vierkant van de Wraak, Van In needs to work with a young and female DA, Hannelore Martens, and they fall in love. Now they're married and have three kids (twins (boy + girl) and another boy).

What makes the series likeable is how much is comes near real life. Van In has midlife crises, Hannelore wants to have sex with a younger man, Versavel falls in love but his husband leaves him for a younger man.

The last novels are even better written than the first. Aspe is not afraid to tackle actual themes and problems. For instance he has a book about the Bende van Nijvel which was responsible for many killings in the 1980's and 1990's. They were never caught, and lots of people think that high-placed officials are or were behind it. The last book I read (the 30th) is about men who murder and rape young children.

I can certainly recommend this author - I have already 30 of his books in my library.

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