Blue Night by Simone Buchholz translated by Rachel Ward ** Blog Tour Review**
I'm happy to be the latest stop on the Orenda Books Blog Tour for Simone Buchholz' novel, Blue Night. I haven't read a piece of German Noir before but if you are looking for atmosphere and characters, check it out.
After convicting a superior for corruption and shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels, the career of Hamburg’s most hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chastity Riley, has taken a nose dive: she has been transferred to the tedium of witness protection to prevent her making any more trouble. However, when she is assigned to the case of an anonymous man lying under police guard in hospital, Chastity’s instinct for the big, exciting case kicks in. Using all her powers of persuasion, she soon gains her charge’s confidence, and finds herself on the trail to Leipzig, a new ally, and a whole heap of lethal synthetic drugs. When she discovers that a friend and former colleague is trying to bring down Hamburg’s Albanian mafia kingpin single-handedly, it looks like Chas Riley’s dull life on witness protection really has been short-lived…
It took me a little while to get accustomed to the structure of the book but once I realised that we were going to have a periodic round up of the other characters' thoughts and who they were, I got into the rhythm of the story. It is quite a journey that Chastity Riley takes you on, down into the murky underworld of drug dealing and the East European mafia but she is such a feisty individual, quick witted and sharp, that you can't help but like her.
Simone spends quite a long time building up the mystery of the man in the hospital who Chastity is assigned to and when his identity comes clearer, you can feel the story pick up a pace. I found the descriptions of East Germany particularly striking, with the contrast of idyllic almost fairy tale fields and then abandoned, crumbling factories and long, dark valleys. For the most part, it is all greyness and seems desolate and lifeless. Which is the opposite of Chastity of course! She shines like a tough little diamond. Bring her on!
In short: German Noir brimming with wit and atmosphere.
About the Author
Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as runner-up for the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.
Book links: Amazon UK
Thanks to Simone, Karen Sullivan and Anne Cater of Orenda Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour.
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