A blockbuster memoir about siblings in the brutal world of Dutch gangsters is now in English

The Nose.
The Nose.
Image: EPA/Robin van Lonkhuijsen
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The bonkers true-crime memoir that’s captured the Netherlands for the last two years is coming to English-language readers next Tuesday (Aug. 7).

Judas: How a Sister’s Testimony Brought Down a Criminal Mastermind, is by Astrid Holleeder, a former criminal defense lawyer and one of the sisters of infamous Dutch crime boss Willem Holleeder, also known as De Neus (“the Nose”). Holleeder was once De Neus’s legal advisor, but in 2013 she decided to testify against her brother, who is on trial for five counts of murder, among other charges. She’s currently in hiding in Amsterdam.

Holleeder’s brother was one of the two leaders of a 1983 kidnapping of then-Heineken CEO, Freddy Heineken, who was held for a ransom of $35 million Dutch guilder (about $35 million today). Though Dutch authorities found some of the money stashed later, $8 million was never recovered, and it’s believed to have funded Willem Holleeder’s criminal rise.

In 2013, Holleeder and her older sister, Sonja, recorded their brother using body wires, to provide evidence of his crimes to the police.

In 2016, Holleeder published a memoir about their family and her decision to betray her brother. The book was an instant success, in part because of the ongoing trial and secrecy of the author. The book spent 70 consecutive weeks on the Dutch bestseller list, according to The New York Times. Last year Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Television acquired the rights to produce a TV series based on the book.

As Patrick Radden Keefe writes for the New Yorker, the spectacle of the sibling relationship has the country riveted:

…The clash of the Holleeders is sibling rivalry distilled to a courtroom duel. “This is the ultimate betrayal,” Astrid told the court in March. Through sobs, she explained that, despite Wim’s many crimes, she still loves him. It was “crazy and horrible” to be testifying against him, she admitted.