John Murray has acquired a "stunning" memoir by Astrid Holleeder, the sister of "one of the most notorious criminals in contemporary history", Willem Holleeder.
In 2013, Astrid Holleeder decided to do the "unthinkable": to testify against her brother Willem. A story of family and loyalty, high risks and high stakes, it heralded the fall of "one of the world's highest-profile gangsters", said the publisher.
Willem Holleeder is "one of the most notorious criminals in contemporary history". Best known for his involvement in the 1983 kidnapping of Alfred Heineken, the c.e.o. and chairman of Heineken, and his infamous 2006 trial in which he was convicted of extortion, money laundering and membership of a criminal organisation, Holleeder "captured the attention of the world".
What few knew was how Willem had terrorised, extorted and threatened his family for 30 years, just as his alcoholic father – an employee at Heineken – had dominated and mistreated the family for years. Children, sisters, women, in-laws and mother: no one escaped the despotic behaviour of father and son.
In this "stunning" memoir, Judas: How a Sister's Testimony Brought Down a Criminal Mastermind, Astrid Holleeder reveals decades of familial manipulation and fear and her own thrilling experience working as a double cross, preserving enough trust to attain the information that would convict her brother for life.
Judas sold 80,000 copies on the first day of publication in the Netherlands and has now sold 500,000 copies, a spokesperson for John Murray said. It has been optioned for TV by Stephen Spielberg’s production company Amblin Entertainmen in partnership with Atlas Entertainment. Rights for Judas have also been sold in France, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Russia, Spain, Italy and North America.
Astrid Holleeder is a Dutch lawyer and writer.
UK editor Joe Zigmond said: "Judas is a true crime story about siblings afflicted by shared childhoods, bloodlines and complex bonds. The book explores the fear of violence, but also the fear of charm. There is the fear of enemies, but then there is the far more terrifying fear of family.
"And extraordinary as Astrid’s life has been, her story’s themes – of generational faults, violent men, abusive relationships and the guilt of loving those we hate – have universal qualities. The very fact that Judas exists, regardless of its exceptional writing and astonishing success already, is a triumph of human courage. We are delighted to be publishing it at John Murray."
John Murray will publish Judas in hardback on 9th August 2018. It holds Africa, Australia and New Zealand, EU, India, Ireland, Middle East, and UK rights.