Cover Image: Amok


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Member Reviews

A man forcibly takes hostages in a radio station, and forces the whole of Berlin to play a phone-in game with incredibly high stakes. All he wants to do is talk to his girlfriend. Sounds easy? The problem facing the negotiator - the man's girlfriend has been dead for months. 

This is a fun, fast read. It is high octane stuff, and Fitzek is a master of this genre. If you like page turners, this is for you. 

Jamie Lee Searle must also be credited for their translation. 

Many thanks to Sebastian Fitzek, NetGalley, and Head of Zeus for this copy.
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Loved it, really good fast paced thriller full of twists and turns and had me racing through it to get to the end!! Will look out for more from the author…
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If you want a book that leaves you breathless with anticipation then you need to read Amok. It's original, fast paced and unputdownable.
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Amok tells the story of Jan May, who receives a phone call from his fiancée, Leoni, minutes after her supposed death. Jan goes on to take hostages at a radio station in Berlin in order to try and find out what really happened to her. Recovering alcoholic and hostage negotiator, Ira, finds herself dealing with the situation and it all gets much more personal than she had hoped. 

Amok, for me, started slow and the pace gradually quickened and quickened until it reached an intense and exciting ending. The characterisation was excellent and, whilst I didn't necessarily like them all, I was certainly invested. The book gripped me right from the beginning and I ended up not being able to put it down. 

There are so many different elements and sub-stories that all come together at the end; the writing is very clever.

My thanks to NetGalley and the Publishers for sending me an ARC in return for an honest review.
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Yes, I agree, Sebastian Fitzek is the German king of a thriller. Amok is yet another example of the author's talent to make mundane words, and actions sound and feel scary, gloomy, thrilling, and suspensefully twisted.

Amok is an amazingly woven story about connection: how strangers (on the surface) are connected by pain, grief, danger, and secrets.

A popular commercial radio station is taken hostage by a madman. The detective on the scene is a woman who was going to kill herself just moments before she called on the case. What follows is an unraveling, unwinding of a very complex labyrinth of lies, betrayals, crimes, and secrets.

Amok will make you hold your breath and gasp at very unexpected points. It is very thrilling and mind-boggling and opening at the same time.
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I found this book hard to give a rating. On one hand, the premise is very interesting and I haven't read anything else quite like it, but on the other I'm not sure it was entirely pulled off. There were too many sub plots, none of which felt like they had much substance. I also found the main character Ira very difficult to relate to, and I didn't particularly like her personality. I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second, instead of really getting going it felt like it veered off in too many directions. Overall I did still find it enjoyable and I'm glad to have read it.
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This one wasn't really my cup of tea, I didn't love the characters and I wasn't engrossed. It had some good elements and might be perfect for someone....just not me :)
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Everything a thriller should be and more.
Absolutely fantastic read, hooked me in from the first chapter and kept me reeled in on the roolercoaster of a journey through the book.
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“Good morning. It’s 7.35 AM. And you’re listening to your biggest nightmare”

Even though the plotlines of Sebastian Fitzek’s books might sometimes appear overly complicated, I always enjoy his dark storylines, brooding characters and lugubrious narrative and dialogue. However for me personally, despite not being one of Sebastian’s most recent publications, AMOK takes edge-of-the-seat thriller writing, to a whole new level.

Whilst there have been several films made over the years, which have taken the same name, none would appear to have been based on this particular premise. Although not a totally unique or unconventional storyline, I have no doubt that this is a potential hit movie in the making and it really needs to be optioned, as I have an entire cast list in mind, who I am certain could turn it into an overnight success.


At this stage, I like to offer a short resume of the storyline, just to whet the appetite for what’s to come. However, to feature even a potted overview of this book, runs the risk of giving away too many spoilers, so I am going to keep this short piece deliberately vague, but believe me when I say that it barely scratches the surface of this gripping story. We are in Berlin, where following a strange and troubling phone call from his fiance, Leoni, followed by an even more worrying subsequent visit and less than satisfactory investigation by the police, psychologist Jan May’s world implodes spectacularly. Refusing to accept the evidence and information being presented to him as the truth, the balance of his mind becomes so disturbed that he can only see one option to prove his theory of corruption and wrongdoing and draw out the perpetrator who has taken away his reason for living.

Ira Samin, a police criminal psychologist negotiator, is only hanging on to her job by the skin of her teeth. An alcoholic mother with suicidal tendencies, she can only see one way out from the dark cloud she lives under, and it isn’t going to be pretty! Two unrelated people, who don’t know each other, it would seem that Ira and Jan have both have ‘opted’ for the same day on which to complete their individual self-fulfilling missions. But does fate play a deciding hand in events which now unfold, or are there much more tangible, darker forces at work, which ensure that their final game is actually played out together, very publicly, in front of an entire city.

Two psychologists; one trapped inside a radio station and about to play a whole new style of Russian roulette with his listeners and the hostages he has taken; the other surrounded by colleagues who no longer have trust or faith in her judgement, but reluctantly accept that she is the best person to negotiate in this scenario, so long as they can keep her sober and focussed. However, it soon becomes apparent that not all is as straightforward as it would seem. Jan is playing a much more devious and dangerous game than anyone realises and he definitely isn’t abiding by the rule book. Ira soon uncovers an additional and more pressing personal reason for needing to keep herself on the case and using all the tools in her kitbag, to bring the negotiations to a successful conclusion, although she is soon convinced that not only is Jan playing a potentially lethal game with all their lives, but that someone on her own team is playing both ends against the middle and is a mole not to be trusted – but who?

By the end of the day the bodies have started to pile up; national security is at risk; Jan has realised that once he has set it free, he can’t get the genie back in the bottle; and a sober Ira is left to question her judgement of the colleagues she thought she knew so well, although the dark cloud questioning her love and commitment as a mother has been somewhat lifted from her shoulders. Whilst the signs are definitely positive and although the threads are still tenuous, can there possibly be hope for the future for both Jan and Ira, when the dust settles on a day which should never have happened.


This well structured, multi-layered storyline is powerful, highly textured and intense. Fast paced and told in seamless, short chapters, with crisp no nonsense narrative and dialogue, the atmosphere for the most part is desperately tense, claustrophobic and totally immersive; eerily complimenting the relatively small and confined physical footprint of the action, which is well enhanced, given depth and made very visual by some excellent descriptive writing and a keen attention to detail. The plot had so many twists and double twists, that I fast became tied up in knots about who did what, to whom, where, why and when. In this well constructed and infinitely tangled web of lies, deception, manipulation and control, everyone seemed to be double-crossing someone else and there were so many dirty little secrets being uncovered, that I wouldn’t have wanted to turn my back on any of this motley, malevolent crew, for fear of being stabbed in the back, metaphorically speaking.

It was definitely all in the detail and whilst I did manage to correctly work out the general direction I thought the story was heading in, I was completely off the grid with working out who the ‘bad guys’ really were. So by the time Sebastian had thrown in a few red herrings to confuse me a little more, I quite honestly didn’t stand a chance and I did also miss a couple of whopping obvious clues. There was just no let up until the very final chapter, when a hitherto hidden letter, written from the heart, delivers a gut wrenching confession, which does perversely pave the way for the release of that long held breath and a lifting of the all-pervading sense of guilt and grief, as a relatively gentle sigh brings the book to a close.

The relatively large and sprawling cast of characters, really had a strong and forceful presence, often threatening to overwhelm the plot, as they manipulated my thoughts and drained my energy. There wasn’t one amongst them with whom I even began to empathise or connect with, let alone invest in. Individually, they were all well defined and developed, however their often complex and raw volatility made them totally unreliable, duplicitous and manipulative. I genuinely wanted to believe in them, especially Ira and Jan, however they were both such an emotional mess, that uncovering and exposing their true motives and feelings, or finding any authenticity about them, was almost impossible.

What always makes reading such a wonderful experience for me, is that with each and every new book, I am taken on a unique and individual journey, by authors who fire my imagination, stir my emotions and stimulate my senses. This story was definitely one of a kind, having the power to evoke so many feelings, that I’m sure I won’t have felt the same way about it as the last reader, nor the next, so I can only recommend that you read Amok for yourself and see where your journey leads you, but make sure you keep your wits about you!
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A riveting page turner, with constant action and an interesting story. Thanks to NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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I thoroughly enjoyed reading Amok. Fitzek has a unique way of pulling you in right from the start.
So Good morning Berlin, but not so good for the seven hostages inside the radio station. 
The station runs a game show for listeners to call into, Cash Call and if you answer correctly you win a prize but get the questions wrong one of them dies!
Superbly written with just the right amount of terror.
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SF is one of my favourite thriller authors. Every book of his is an amazing experience! This is not an exception either. 

In the first pages, you feel lost and wonder what is it that you read but as soon as the pieces come together and click… OMG!

There is constant suspense and action for more that 50% of the book that got me sitting at the edge of my seat. It’s not easy to guess what is going to happen and even when you get close, the plot still manages to surprise you. 

I really don’t know what else I can say for this book. If you’ve read any SF’s book before then you know the feeling. It will take me some time to recover and stop thinking about this…
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Another book by Sebastian that I've really enjoyed - as per usual there were twists and turns galore. I was constantly trying to stay ahead by guessing who could be lying and what might happen next.

The premise was great and I really enjoyed learning more about Jan and Ira alongside seeing their relationship develop through the calls. There were quite a lot of characters but it was easy to keep track of them as the writing was clear. Learning who to trust was a challenge as I suspected them all at some point or another, but that's all part of the fun.

I am so angry with Kitty, like furious - and am baffled by a certain reaction in the latter part of the book. That was the main thing I struggled to believe. I also found sections near the end seemed rushed - most likely because there was a lot happening. I could have read another 100 pages to slow that down and delve deeper into it.

I'm definitely a Sebastian Fitzek fan now, and hope all his works get translated into English. His stories have so much going on, it's just one giant puzzle to solve before the ending is revealed.
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This is an action-orientated story set in an ethos of political intrigue. Fast-paced and full of unexpected plot twists with complex characters haunted by past tragedies. The story begins well and inextricably draws the reader into an unpredictable world. It is a fusion of violent action and conspiracy, which is addictive, but the psychological aspect is the most compelling and poignant.

I received a copy of this book from 'Head of Zeus' via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Translated by Jamie Lee Searle, Amok is written by German author Sebastian Fitzek. It begins with a flashback to an unnamed man in his luxury apartment. Then it jumps eight months to current day Berlin, as Ira Samin contemplates suicide. A telephone call interrupts her and she is required to use her formidable hostage negotiation skills. A siege is underway at a local radio station and the rules of the random cash call game are dangerously changed. The situation is being broadcast live and the hostages’ lives are at grave risk, given shots have been fired. So, the narrative reveals the unfolding drama, complications and connections that you won’t see coming. Then there is the ultimate curve ball, with the demand made to bring the kidnapper’s wife to the radio station but she is dead. As an absorbingly gripping read with interlaced twists throughout, it makes for a must read five-star rating mystery. With thanks to Head of Zeus and the author, for an uncorrected proof for review purposes. As always, the opinions herein are totally my own and freely given for such a highly enjoyable read.
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Omg I can't say enough good things about this book.
It pulled me right in I just could not put it down. Such great characters and the storyline is off the charts great!! Be sure to pick this book up.

Thanks to the author, the publisher and NetGalley for an early release of this book.
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This is a very fast paced thrill ride of a novel that left me a little exhausted by the end.  A new author to me but as I really enjoyed this book I will certainly be looking out for more of his work.
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would like to thank netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this fast paced action (was it really only a book) thought it was a movie at one it was a book and what a ride it was

action from the get go and it continued throughout right up to the last page

someone has taken over a radio station and is holding them hostage, after each hour he is ringing out to anyone in the city and if they dont say the correct thing one of the hostages dies

his demands are simple

find out where is fiancee is...

if you start this book you wont be able to put it down, its fast paced and gritty at times and you wont see what is going to happen next...

read it at your peril as you will lose yourself in this one, have snacks beside you and plenty of water...

going to be keeping an eye out for more of this authors books
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So we have a hostage situation with a psychopath at the helm in a radio station threatening to  kill a hostage every hour if his demands are not dealt with but this is no straight forward kind of a plot at and not everything is as it first seems. I must admit this was no easy read as at times so much was going on and with all the twists I had to reread some parts a few times to get things straight in my head.
The writing was spot on and the characters were excellent, interesting and flawed.
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Well, I didn't see that twist.

I really thought I'd got it all figured out, but this isn't my first Sebastian Fitzek books so I should have known better. 

Each time I read another one of his, I think they're getting better and better.

If you like psychologically gory and dark, then go and read any of Sebastian Fitzek's books. You won't be disappointed.
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