- Hardcover: 416 pages
- Publisher: Mulholland Books (August 7, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780316475303
- ISBN-13: 978-0316475303
- ASIN: 0316475300
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.5 x 9.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 12 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,474 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Judas: How a Sister's Testimony Brought Down a Criminal Mastermind Hardcover – August 7, 2018
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"A harrowing, courageous account of murder and family...riveting, sensational, unforgettable."―Kirkus (Starred Review)
"Compulsively readable... [Judas] is not only a fascinating examination of a criminal many American readers will be unfamiliar with, but also a moving and heartbreaking tale of the toll exerted on the families of headline criminals."―Booklist
"Written from her place in hiding, Judas is Astrid's story of deception, turmoil and -- ultimately -- courage . . . A stark statement about how one familial tie can strangle so many lives."―The Washington Post
"Written while awaiting her brother's trial, Holleeder's engrossing story reads like the last will and testament of a dead woman walking."―Publishers Weekly
"Guaranteed, you've never read a memoir like Judas, already a runaway hit the Netherlands where it was first published. Judas is the story of Astrid Holleeder, the criminal lawyer who decided to testify against her brother, crime kingpin Willem "Wim" Holleeder, knowing it would put her life in grave danger. Holleeder is currently in hiding as she waits to testify. Reading Holleeder's matter-of-fact account of the years leading to this decision gives the uncanny sensation of reading a death wish."―Refinery29
About the Author
Astrid Holleeder is a Dutch lawyer and writer. She is the sister of the criminal Willem Holleeder and was, together with her older sister and a former friend of Willem, a witness to his prosecution. Her memoir Judas sold half a million copies and became the bestselling book in the Netherlands in 2016. Her second book, Diary of a Witness, also became an instant bestseller.
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In the first part, she shared incidents from her childhood. Her father, a paranoid, alcoholic, physically and verbally abused his wife and four children. The oldest son, Willem (Wim), left home and school in early adolescence and began a life of crime. The mother and remaining children fled the home when the father threatened to throw Astrid, the youngest child, out on the street at the age of thirteen. She found salvation in her academic pursuits and playing basketball. She attended university and graduated with a law degree. The eldest brother, Wim, took a very different path: extortion, drug trafficking and murder.
In 1983, Wim and associates kidnapped, Freddy Heineken, son of the beer tycoon. Newspaper headlines of the crime gripped the Netherlands. A $6 million ransom was paid to the kidnappers. They all were eventually apprehended, but the ransom was never recovered. Wim spent a mere three years in jail for the crime because, as a criminal mastermind, he was able to pin the bulk of the crime onto others. Once he was released, Wim planned the liquidation of his criminal colleagues including a childhood friend and husband of his sister Sonja. It took two assassination attempts to kill his brother-in-law. Wim's sisters always suspected their brother arranged for the murder, but they never had the proof. As time went on, Wim became paranoid about his own safety. He manipulated his sisters to help him by threatening not only their lives, but also the lives of their children. The emotional strain of her brother's threats weighed heavily on Astrid. Close to a nervous and physical breakdown, she decided to go through the criminal justice system and testify against her brother. She convinced her sister and a former girlfriend of Wim to join her in a pursuit of justice. Over a two year period, they secretly recorded conversations with Wim and provided detailed testimony of his past criminal activities. Their goal was to have him sentenced for life in a maximum security prison.
How would their mother feel about their familial infidelity? How would they feel about betraying their own brother, whom they still loved? Even if the sisters were successful in winning a life sentence for their brother, would he seek vengeance against them by arranging for their assassinations using his criminal connections inside and outside of prison? The reader will find himself/herself caught up in this emotional quagmire to the bitter end.