Crime Thriller

The Reluctant Criminal

Category:Crime Thriller

Author:Jan Jongstra

  • Publisher: JanJongstraBooks
  • Publication Date: March 7, 2023
  • Number of Pages: 266
  • ISBN-10: 1738670600
  • ISBN-13: 9781738670604

Frank is a seemingly unassuming data entry clerk in a Toronto import/export company. His life takes an unexpected turn when he is promoted and relocated to Amsterdam, where he becomes the company's agent responsible for clearing containers. He is committed to his job and loves it. But as days go by, Frank becomes suspicious about the company's activities. He is torn between the allure of his dream job in Amsterdam, complete with a generous salary, a free apartment, and the chance to explore Europe, and his growing awareness that he has unwittingly become entangled in illegal trade.

The stakes are raised when Frank realizes that the merchandise in the containers poses a serious threat to people's lives. It's at this point that Frank's moral code clashes with his loyalty to the company. He becomes the “reluctant criminal” of the title. He finds himself in a bind, torn between doing what is right and the fear of getting into the crosshairs of the ruthless company enforcers. Enlisting the help of friends, Frank sets out to expose the company. What follows is a twisty ride that moves the story to a surprising denouement.

The Reluctant Criminal is a unique crime novel, beautifully written and featuring a protagonist who instantly grabs the attention of readers. The prose has the fluidity I enjoy in good writing, that music that sounds well to the ears. The author’s economy of words had me thrilled as I went through the focused scenes, savoring the engaging dialogues, and getting immersed in Frank’s occasional internal dialogues. The plot moves forward, propelled by the author’s deft balancing of Frank’s core values with external pressures. The characters are relatable and the conflict feels real. The conflict is well-imagined and brilliantly executed. Overall, this book has everything readers look for in a good novel — a genuinely flawed protagonist, a broken system exploited by criminals, and a finely drawn setting.  

Reviewed By: Bertin Drizller

Reviewed Date: November 29, 2023

Category: Crime Thriller