Saturday, January 12, 2013

Reprobate: Amsterdam Assassin Series

Reprobate: A Katla Novel
Book one in the Amsterdam Assassin Series

by Martyn V. Halm


Katla is a professional assassin for hire, specializing in hits that can't be traced. When the novel begins, she is taking out the owner of a shop selling antique Japanese swords, with his own merchandise, when she is interrupted by a blind man who has come to pick up his order. Katla has a firm policy of not allowing witnesses to her hits to live, but Bram is blind, and totally sexy. She lets him go, but can't seem to stay away from him. So begins an unlikely but fascinating partnership. How will a cold-blooded killer and a pacifist musician find any common ground?

Meanwhile, American DEA agents are brought to Amsterdam to help IPOL break up a drug ring run by a local gang. Katla is unwittingly drawn in to a law enforcement sting operation by a double-crossing client. There is some gory violence as Katla carries out her hits, but the emphasis is firmly on procedure: descriptions of guns and knives, techniques, and the autopsies and forensics afterward.

But of course, Devo Girl was way more interested in Bram. He is a terrific character, very realistic and SUPER devvy. He's well-adjusted and capable, but not superhuman. He plays the saxophone, practices shiatsu on the local yakuza, and studies aikido. He's just the right combination of strong and vulnerable, and it's oh so sexy. And Katla pursues him with the single-minded obsession of a dev. His blindness and the scars on his face and eyes make him more sexy to her. It's awesome.

There is also a second blind character who shows up in a small but great scene. And another character who is a DAK amputee, but that is very minor.

I also like that Katla is a tough, strong woman who doesn't have trauma or abuse in her past. She's just good at what she does. It's quite a trick to get the audience to root for the killer and the police equally, but the author pulls it off. The Dutch setting is also unusual and interesting. I'm looking forward to the next books in the series.

ETA: The sequel, Pecadillo, is even better than the first volume. A lot more Bram, too!

Read my interview with author Martyn Halm on Ruth Madison's blog.


  1. This is an interesting angle I didn't realize when I wrote Reprobate.
    Although I'm aware of the fact that there are people who are specifically attracted to disabled persons, Reprobate hadn't been written with the idea that people would read the series because it also features disabled characters. And the fact that people who are familiar with disabled persons judge my portrayal of the blind characters realistic is immensely gratifying.

  2. Oooo, this sounds very interesting. I'm going to check it out!

    (btw, Mr. Halm, whether intended or not, us devs locate books with disabled characters and absolutely devour them! Many of the authors didn't write them with us in mind, but we enjoy them none the less) ;)

  3. Well, like I wrote to DG in an email, it wasn't until I read my books through your eyes that I noticed how many disabled characters, in both major and minor roles, feature in my stories. Reprobate has, apart from the aforementioned two blind men and DAK amputee, also a cripple tattoo artist who walks with a cane. The second novel, Peccadillo, features Bram again, plus another blind person and a deafmute character.
    So I can see why the Amsterdam Assassin Series might be interesting for devotees.

    A word of warning though: the events in the Katla KillFiles Locked Room and Microchip Murder take place before Katla appears in Reprobate, so Bram isn't featured in these short stories. I'd like to mention that, just to avoid 1-star reviews from irate Bram fans.