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Elaine White's Life in Books

I love reading, and as a writer I like to broaden my scope by reading outside of my comfort zone, so that I can learn more about my craft.

Currently reading

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Book Review - The Amsterdam Assassin Series

I reviewed two books for Martyn: the Katla KillFile Book 0.1 'Fundamental Error' and Book 1 of the Amsterdam Assassin Series, 'Reprobate'.




The Katla KillFiles

Book 0.1: Fundamental Error


Blurb: The Fundamental Error KillFile (9,800 words) follows Katla Sieltjes, freelance assassin and corporate troubleshooter, on her most dangerous assignment yet. When Peter Brandt watches his brother Roel convert to Islam and turn into a domestic terrorist, Katla needs to enter into the mind of a fanatic suicide bomber in order to thwart a mass-murder attack in the shopping mecca of Amsterdam.







Author – Martyn V. Halm
Star rating – ★★★★
Plot – very well thought out and put together
Characters – diverse, unique, good mix
Movie Potential – ★★★★
Ease of reading – very easy to read
Cover – 
Suitable Title – 
Would I read it again – Yes.




There isn't much I can say about this book without going into detail about the plot and giving it all away, but I will say that it's the first book I've read with an assassin as the main character and the first where the female lead is not weak, teary, vulnerable or scatterbrained. In fact, if you put together a list of words to describe our main character Katla, then you're looking more into the realm of : calculated, objective, precise, clear-headed and ruthless. A unique story with a realistic plot and MC, and a relatable female MC with some kick-ass action moves.




The Amsterdam Assassin Series

Book 1: Reprobate


Blurb: Blessed with an almost non-existent conscience, Katla Sieltjes, expert in disguising homicide, views assassination as an intricate and rewarding occupation. Hidden behind her male alter ego Loki, Katla receives anonymous assignments, negotiates the terms with clients through electronic means, all to protect her identity. Her solitary existence satisfies her until she meets a blind musician whose failure to notice a ‘closed’ sign causes him to wander in on Katla’s crime scene. And Katla breaks one of her most important rules - never leave a living witness.





Author – Martyn V. Halm
Star rating – ★★★★
Plot – very well thought out and put together
Characters – intriguing, relatable, likeable
Movie Potential – ★★★★
Ease of reading – really easy to read
Cover – 
Suitable Title – 
Would I read it again – Yes.




I really enjoyed this story. But let me start off by pointing out the one or two things that didn't work for me. They are all because of personal preference. First off, we deal with the FBI, DEA, a hired killer and some experts in this book, so a lot of the 'official' stuff goes over my head. For example, the DEA/FBI talk, the martial arts moves and the technical terms are just pretty words to me, so I had to let my imagination do the rest - not really a problem, but something I thought I should point out. Also, I'm not a big fan of having accents written out. I had to read a few bits of dialogue over twice to figure out the real meaning.

Saying that, the rest is all good. The story started with a fast, great hook that kept me interested. I loved how we were left in limbo at points of the story to jump from Katla's perspective to Deborah or Simon's. I love when we're left on a cliffhanger waiting to find out what's going to happen to our favourite characters while we see what's going on elsewhere. I think the use of the FBI and DEA was a genius touch. It gave me - the reader - the feeling of being 'in' on the secret of what had really happened and waiting to see if the FBI or DEA would cotton on or not, and how.

It did take me a little while to get into the book, but that's just because of the genius of the author's writing. I loved Katla from the minute I read 'Fundamental Error', before jumping into this novel and by the time we moved on from her story I only loved her all the more. Especially when Bram came into the story. He was a class act of a character. He lightened the mood quite a bit, while providing a realistic reaction to Katla's chosen career and personality. I loved that he got to know her for who she was before he knew anything about her job.

I also have to admit that I really liked the little characters: Painless Paul and his grandson, James Creoux, Zeph, Kourou and the Japanese staff. They were all nice touches to an already well written and intriguing story. I liked that we got to know a little about Bram before we 'officially' met him as well. I will admit, however, that when we first met him I got him mixed-up with the elderly man walking his dog outside the store and spent two chapters thinking he was old. Way too old for the way Katla started thinking about him. ;) But, I will blame that on not feeling well and trying to devour the story too quickly.

Having absolutely no experience of Amsterdam at all, I enjoyed getting really vivid descriptions of locations throughout the story. It wasn't overly done or done too often and it let me really set the scene for the characters. I also love the little bit at the back of the book, letting us know what locations are pure imagination, like the amazing Roustabout. I'm a big fan of Jazz, so I was really pleased to have little touches of it creeping into the story every now and then. I like to think that me and Bram would get on really well. I also happen to have a really morbid fascination with murder, crime, crime scenes and forensics so I would have no problem chatting to Katla either.

Overall, I loved the focus on Katla and Bram, even when they weren't directly in the scenes and I thought the gradual development and conclusion of the plot was perfect. It made it more realistic than having everything happen within hours or days when we all know that real life is never that accommodating, especially when it comes to crime scene investigations.

I'm rating this story a 4 instead of a 5 for two reasons: 1) the technical jargon going way over my head and 2) the ending. I think it maybe ended a little abruptly, but I'm undecided of whether this is a good or a bad thing. At the moment it's a bad thing, because I can't go straight into the next book, which I think is the point of the cut off.

However, I will definitely be reading the rest of the series soon.




Where to Buy Martyn's Books:



Barnes and Noble







How to get in touch with Martyn:


E-mail: katlasieltjes@yahoo.com

Mailing List






Source: http://ellelainey.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/book-review-amsterdam-assassin-series