Posted in Author Interview

Daniel Pembrey – Author Interview

23636123Daniel Pembrey is a favourite author of mine, who writes interesting, original psychological and political thrillers set around the world, with amazingly authentic settings.

  The final part of The Harbour Master trilogy is released today 5 December, read my review  of the third book The Harbour Master III: Ransom here.

23636123All three books are released as a collection today.Check out my reviews of all three books in the collection by clicking on the covers.

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If you are new to Daniel and his  books read on and find out more about this exciting new author.

Did you always want to be a writer? Can you describe your writing journey?

Yes, I wanted to write from a young age and finally found opportunity to do so professionally last year. The key thing for me has been writing what I like to read: thrillers, of novella length, with a charismatic investigator, told in the first person voice.

You write thrillers set in commercial or political arenas. How do you create original stories in such a popular genre?

Curiously, for such a popular genre, there’s a shortage of crime fiction set in Holland (in English translation). That allowed me a little more freedom in creating original story ideas for the Harbour Master series.

 Your books always have detailed, realistic settings. How much research is involved? Do you enjoy it?

Thank you! It is a lot of observation and immersion in the relevant locales. For me, that involved living in the docklands area of Amsterdam (my policeman’s beat) for several months. I’m not aware of any shortcuts to this approach (useful though the Internet can be for other purposes!), though I didn’t really mind it since I have a close sister living in Amsterdam. Even visiting the harbour at dawn (a habit of my maverick cop, Henk van der Pol) started to grow on me!

What’s next after The Harbour Master III?

I have a new story idea set in Berlin, and I’m very excited to have received serious interest from a Luxembourg film producer for my other Kindle Single, The Candidate: A Luxembourg Thriller. I’m working on a film treatment for that. It’s early days, but fingers crossed!

Do you have a tried and tested writing process? Can you share it with us?
Writing every morning and good strong coffee! If you learn of a magic formula, please let me know. This is why a lot of journalists make good writers of fiction: they’re used to just getting the words out, no matter where their muse is that day!

Have you written books in any other genres?
I’ve written a horror tale called Simon Sixsmith: A Ghost Story. It was loosely based on The Woman in Black by Susan Hill; Susan kindly read it and gave me a nice review.

Social Media; do you love or hate it? Why?
I like it when I’m engaging with people and there is a rapport (though social media isn’t necessarily required for that). Social media has become a necessity for writers; initially I resisted, but I’ve learned to enjoy it. Please feel free to say Hi on 

Twitter @DPemb, Facebook DPembrey or Goodreads!

Your books have been very successful. Apart from a fabulous story, what does a book need to become a bestseller?
Thank you so much for saying that! The thriller genre does lend itself nicely to popular fiction. It’s fast-paced and, when done well, highly satisfying. I’d say you need to create a memorable character, use interesting locations and listen to what your readers feed back – write what they like to read!

Do you enjoy reading when you’re not writing? Do you have favourite authors/books/genres?

Absolutely. I enjoy any good psychological suspense story, or indeed any good character-led drama. One of my all-time favourites is Pride and Prejudice.

Thanks for sharing with us Daniel.

Thank you so much for having me, Jane. None of us would get very far without reader-reviewers like you!

Posted in Book Review, New Books

5*Review: The Harbour Master III: Ransom – Daniel Pembrey (Kindle Singles #3)


Blurb -2

The series finale: A powerful Dutch politician is hijacked, bearing uncanny parallels with the 1983 kidnapping of beer tycoon Freddy Heineken. Maverick cop Henk van der Pol, who worked on the Heineken case at the start of his career, is soon operating outside of the official investigation. In trying to solve the latest kidnapping, Henk himself becomes imprisoned, and, with rival cop Joost emerging as the winner between them, Henk must navigate dark currents at the highest levels of Dutch society.

Buy Links -2Amazon UK:The Harbour Master III:Ransom

Amazon UK: The Harbour Master: The Collected Edition (Books 1-3)

My Review
‘The Harbour Master III: Ransom’ follows on from the cliff-hanger ending of book 2 ‘The Maze’. Henk wants to find out what has happened to Lottman, his only ally in the Dutch establishment. As we have come to expect, there are no easy passages for our off beat detective but he forges on regardless and soon begins to find there are some odd connections and strange alliances, which warrant further investigation.
The suspected kidnapping has uncomfortable parallels with Henk’s first case as a young policeman but are these real or imagined? The enigmatic Henk manages to get more answers than his enemies would like but it seems he is doomed to lose the war with the corrupt bureaucrats. Again the settings are vibrant and integral to the plot and there are many delightful minor characters that enhance this political thriller.
The author teases the reader with snippets of information and possible leads, giving the story its realistic edge. The conclusion ties up the immediate story in a satisfying way but there are still queries that need resolving and I am happy to see our intrepid detective will feature in another story in a different setting.
I received a copy of this story from the author in exchange for an honest review.

23636123If you haven’t read the  previous two stories you can buy them and the third book in The Harbour Master: The Collected Editions ( Book 1-3).

Check out my 5*reviews of the first two books by clicking on the covers:

The Harbour    Master #1
The Harbour Master: The Maze #2
Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review: The Candidate Daniel Pembrey

Nick Thorneycroft is a British headhunter working in Luxembourg. His company asks him to recruit a high-flying executive for the company’s Russian business. The best candidate turns out to be smart, beautiful… and mysterious. Soon the effects of Russia’s political upheaval, and the arrival of an ex-girlfriend who won’t leave him alone, make Nick’s Luxembourg life increasingly perilous; worlds collide in this gripping, atmospheric tale.


My Review

 ‘The Candidate’ is an enthralling political thriller set in Luxembourg. Nick is a recruitment head hunter although in a previous life he enjoyed a successful career as a sports journalist.

Nick can’t remember what he did the previous night and his only clue is a piece of sexy underwear. An unexplained receipt, a distraught landlady and a missing dog all increase the suspense.

Nick needs his journalistic skills to unravel the mystery as these clues throw up new questions and worrying possibilities for Nick.

Tasked with head hunting an executive to manage key Russian and East European business Nick finds himself attracted to the high flyer and wonders if she is the key to his mystery.

The reappearance of his ex girlfriend coupled with work conflicts against a background of political unrest deepens the mystery.

Violence and political intrigue are intrinsic components of this story and the cleverly layered plot leaves subtle clues which all contribute to the satisfying ending.

Nick is a good character but I particularly liked the interesting support cast who make this is a worthwhile read.

I received a copy of this book from the author  via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


 Check out my other reviews of Daniel’s books The Woman Who Stopped Traffic  and his latest release The Harbour Master.

The Candidate: Luxembourg Thriller






The Candidate: Luxembourg Thriller by Daniel Pembrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daniel Pembrey

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Posted in Book Review, New Books

5* Review The Harbour Master Daniel Pembrey

Maverick cop Henk van der Pol is thinking about retirement when he finds a woman’s body in Amsterdam Harbour. His detective instincts take over, even though it’s not his case. But Henk’s bigger challenge is deciding who his friends are – not to mention a vicious street pimp who is threatening Henk’s own family. As his search for the killer of the woman in Amsterdam Harbour takes him into a corrupt world of politics and power, Henk finds himself facing some murky moral choices.


My Review

The Harbour Master is a fast paced, suspenseful, political thriller set in Holland.

Henk is an experienced police officer based in the harbour district of Amsterdam. Contemplating retirement, partly due to the new regime at work his plans change when he discovers the body of a young woman floating in the harbour. Henk suspects foul play. Murder, prostitution and trafficking all feature in this story. A series of incidents makes him distrust his colleagues and superiors as vital evidence goes missing. Determined to find out why the girl died he circumvents policy and procedure and finds himself excluded from the case. Henk’s family is in danger as his career nosedives. Will the personal cost be too great?

Henk is a strong but flawed character but subtly so without the obvious peccadilloes commonly associated with cynical older detectives in fiction. The story is atmospheric and leaves the reader with a definite flavour of Holland. The Harbour Master is like the successful Scandinavian thrillers of the same ilk but for me this is superior because it avoids the drawn out nature of this type of thriller with a fast paced, twisty plot.

Henk and his wife a journalist make a formidable team. There is potential for more stories here. The depth of character development is impressive for a novella. The plot is interesting and dark but a page turner which I read in a one go.

I received a copy of this book from the author in return for an honest review.

The Harbour Master by Daniel Pembrey

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Harbour Master




Daniel Pembrey

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Check out my 4* Review of The Woman Who Stopped Traffic also written by Daniel Pembrey





Posted in Book Review, New Books

4* Review The Woman Who Stopped Traffic Daniel Pembrey

The Woman Who Stopped TrafficNot my usual NetGalley read but this one attracted me and I wasn’t disappointed. Here’s what you can expect.

It’s the dawn of social media; Facebook is unknown and World of Warcraft is the world’s biggest online game. An unhinged Hungarian-American Internet magnate is trying to take over it all, using soon-to-IPO web sensation But nefarious content is coming to light on the Clamor social networking site, pointing to sex trafficking.

Enter Natalie Chevalier, glamorous ex-Head of Security at a large Seattle software company… with a father she never knew, a disastrous track record with men and a scandal that forced her from her old job.

Part digital thriller, part dark fairy tale, The Woman Who Stopped Traffic will keep you on the edge of your seat – while revealing deeper truths of our times

My Review

The Woman Who Stopped Traffic is a clever, contemporary, fast-paced thriller with a realistic edge. This first chapter is pivotal to the events that unfold. Read it carefully to fully appreciate what follows.

After a work place affair led to a scandal Natalie Chevalier ditched her role as a corporate technology security expert in favour of the good life in the Bahamas meditating and teaching yoga. a hugely popular social media site is about to float on the stock exchange. Natalie Chevalier accepts an invitation from Tom Nguyen geek scientist and former colleague and attends a presentation for potential investors. A serious security breach occurs during the presentation. Tom needs her help. Natalie agrees but will keen observational skills be enough to find the culprit?

The story is fast paced and complex moving through the world of high finance and technology in great detail. The characters in each of these worlds are well written and easy to visualise. A fantasy on-line role-playing game proves integral to the story and increases the suspense and impact of the plot. The detail of this story is amazing although I found the description of financial trading too detailed at times but I ‘m sure it will appeal to some.

The Woman Who Stopped Traffic is an inspired title. I found it an interesting and absorbing read. Natalie and Ben seem to have unfinished business. I can see them having further adventures together.

I received a copy of this book from the author via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Woman Who Stopped TrafficThe Woman Who Stopped Traffic by Daniel Pembrey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daniel Pembrey

Jane Hunt Writer First Steps

Jane Hunt Writer Book Reviews Google +

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