Blue Night by Simone Buchholz Orenda Books February 28th 2018
Meet Chastity Riley, a German prosecutor in the city of Hamburg. After shooting off a gangster’s crown jewels she is relegated to witness protection, in the hope she will cause less trouble. Assigned to the case of an anonymous man under police protection Chastity cannot help but be drawn into a criminal underworld of drugs and the Albanian Mafia.
The novel’s opening is a violent one, one that will set the scene for what is yet to come and it is certainly not hearts and flowers!
In fact this novel is steeped in pure grit and darkness. For me the grittiest element was Chastity Riley a hard drinking, smoking, no nonsense, kick ass prosecutor not afraid to challenge the good and the bad guys. She seemed bereft of emotion, an enigma to the reader with only little hints to her background or family. The connections with other characters are also quite shady. Her boyfriend Klatsche the owner of the Blue Night bar has a criminal past. Haller, an ex policeman who is determined to bring down the local mafia king Gjergj Malaj, by whatever means. Carla Velosa and her husband Rocco Malutki, owner of a cafe/resturant even have a dark past.
The city itself, is dark and foreboding, the backstreets and the infamous Reeperbahn teeming with drugs, prostitutes and criminals. I could almost transport myself to some dark backstreet, constantly watching over my shoulder just in case.
The combination of cast and location provide a heady mix of mystery and intrigue although some may find the structure of the novel a little difficult to follow at first.
Interspersed with the general narrative, Buchholz includes little snapshots of information about each of the characters, some in the past and some in the present and slowly the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together. It is not something I have seen before and when I became accustomed to it, I actually quite liked it, it certainly gave the novel a very unique feel.
I was extremely impressed with my first foray into German crime and am not surprised that Buchholz has receive rave reviews and huge success in her home country. The novel is dark, subversive and just that little bit different from everything in the crime genre. I certainly hope that she has similar success here in the UK because Simone Buchholz definitely deserves it.
Thank you to Orenda Books for providing a review copy and to Anne Cater for inviting me on to the blogtour.
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.