A camera-ready thriller that follows an Amsterdam man on the run as a suspect in a co-worker’s murder.
This successful Dutch thriller is a powerful shot of Hitchcock laced with notes of Fritz Lang and Franz Kafka. Michael Bellicher, a PR consultant for an Amsterdam communications firm, has barely recovered from a devastating turn in his brother’s life when another crisis confronts him. In an eerie, suspenseful scene, Bellicher hears noises while working late one night. He steps into a corridor and discovers the dead body of a co-worker. Identification in the woman’s purse says she’s Ina Radekker, who worked in finance. But moments later, Bellicher finds the woman’s body has been moved outside and into a dumpster. Bellicher doesn’t know who moved her there or whether, as seems likely, someone else was in the building even though security records show he was the only person on-site. That makes him a suspect in the case. “My word, without witnesses, against a fully automated system,” he thinks. “No one would believe me. The system wins.” A quintessential version of Hitchcock’s wrong man, Bellicher flees across the Netherlands. Den Tex’s concrete, vigorous prose charges up several action scenes, including a masterful set piece, a duel in driving rain between the protagonist, on a scooter, and someone driving a demented Audi. More threatening than the tale’s human villains, though, are the technological ones—hacked laptops; oppressive and invasive security systems—that evoke the Kafkaesque nightmares of Fritz Lang. (The titular Mr. Miller, who appears to direct a clandestine effort at Bellicher's firm, recalls Lang’s Dr. Mabuse films). The chase plays out against seemingly disparate elements—Bellicher’s roiled family, his troubled girlfriend, and anti-Muslim violence in the streets—that connect in a breathless finish. No surprise, then, that an adaptation of the book is on the way from Netflix.
Well worth reading before it starts streaming.