‘The Devil’s Playground’ is the first book that I’ve read by Stav Sherez and it was so dark and gruesome at times that I almost didn’t finish it. It was an excellent book and I’m glad that I pushed through the darker parts.
Jon Reed’s life is fairly unsettled. He is discontent with his work and his life in general. He offers a room in his London apartment to an older homeless man named Jake. They spend hours talking but never really get to know each other.
When Jake’s body is found in a park in Amsterdam, detective Van Hijn asks Jon to identify the body. Jon finds himself unable to leave Amsterdam without finding out a bit more about Jake and why he was murdered.
As Jon follows Jake’s footsteps to the Holocaust museum, he discovers the seedier side of the city, where everything is available to those who are willing to pay for it – drugs and any form of kinky sex you could imagine (and some I couldn’t) and pornography including snuff films. Currently on the market are 49 reels of film that highly sought after by some groups.
Van Hijn believes that Jake’s death was the latest by a serial killer who uses medieval torture on his victims. Suze, an American student in Amsterdam who has developed a relationship with Jon, knew two of the victims. With Suze’s help, Jon finds links between Jake’s death and the 49 reels of film, but not without getting close to Amsterdam’s disturbing underbelly.
There was so much to this book that I find it difficult to describe, and some of it was so disturbing that I don’t even want to think about it. It was brilliantly written and the horror was all part of the story rather than horror for horror’s sake.
Although this book was uncomfortable to read, Sherez is such an excellent author that I hope to read more of his work.
Book Published 2004