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The Reluctant Criminal

Modest data entry clerk Frank works for a Toronto import-export company. One day his boss promotes him to a too-good-to-be-true job in Amsterdam clearing containers through customs. He is uncertain about what is being concealed in the containers and suspects that there is a criminal element to his work, but he doesn’t examine his situation too closely. He knows that when he is too curious, he will get a visit from two violent company enforcers capable of torture and murder. When Frank loses his job, he realizes he is a criminal and wants to redeem himself. He partners with a couple of friends and begins asking questions about what goods the company imports. Frank needs to be creative to avoid the enforcers. As he pursues his investigation, the unlikely hero transforms from a reluctant criminal to a reluctant investigator. As in the best crime fiction, this transformation unfolds through a maze of twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing.

Reviews of The Reluctant Criminal

Jongstra crafts an innovative crime novel while keeping the classic elements readers know and love intact. This results in an absorbing and unique plot, which makes The Reluctant Criminal an enjoyable read. ​

BookLife Prize

The Reluctant Criminal by Jan Jongstra sees the transformation of Frank from a mild-mannered man into a do whatever it takes hero. The Reluctant Criminal pulled me right in and kept me reading. Frank is a likable guy and it was impossible not to root for him, and the bad guys were indeed evil. Jan Jongstra has created a credible crime novel with a strong plot offering murder, assassins, illegal schemes, and a hero. This book should be placed on your reading list if you are a fan of the crime genre with a strong affinity for integrity.

5 out of 5 stars  Readers' Favorite

I will remember this book for a long time. It is highly readable, deals with moral and ethical issues and at the same time, is supremely entertaining. Frank, the everyman protagonist, falls into the rabbit hole of moral ambiguity. His new and exciting life comes with a cost, one that he is increasingly reluctant to pay. This is a novel that is easy to read, but at the same time challenges the reader. I read it all in one sitting. Highly recommended.

Lorne Shapiro

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