The Amsterdam Lawyer

by René Appel

René and I have worked together in a variety of ways since 2006, when I translated his short story "Bloody Hot" for EQMM. I subsequently translated several more of his stories for EQMM and one ("Joyride") for AHMM, we collaborated on several stories, and we co-edited Amsterdam Noir for Akashic Books' City Noir series.

Somewhere along the line, René and his Dutch publisher Ambo|Anthos and I entered into an unusual arrangement for me to translate René's novel De advocaat into English. Rather than charging my usual fee, I agreed to do the translation for two-thirds of the amount, with A|A covering half of that cost and René coughing up the other half himself. In exchange, we would each own one-third of the proceeds from the sale of an eventual English-language edition of the book.

It took a while to sell The Amsterdam Lawyer to an American publisher, but my friend David Dean recommended me to Genius Books, which is doing several collections of his short stories, and publisher Leya Booth asked me if I had something available for her to look at. I sent her René's book, she loved it, and she and her husband and business partner Steven Booth published it in April 2023.

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