I am delighted to be sharing my thoughts on “Blue Night” by Simone Buchholz and translated by Rachel Ward. Published by Orenda Books and available for purchase from Amazon UK. I would like to thank Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my spot on this tour.
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…
Set in Hamburg, Germany. A man is found brutally beaten and it is the job of Chastity Riley to find out the details of this mysterious man. He is not willing to give much about himself, he is Joe and has said he underestimated his attackers. To get more information from him, Riley will have to gain his trust and do her own digging to discover more.
This is a gritty German Noir read, told from the perspective of Riley, we are led through her daily routines, meet her friends and colleagues. In between her chapters are diary like entries of other characters, these range from maybe a sentence to several paragraphs in length. At first this caught me unawares, but as the story progress they make sense and give the links and insights that you would not have got from Riley alone. They are the personal snippets from the lives all given at a similar time in the past. I also noticed while reading this book, there is a lot of time drinking, it did make me wonder how some of these people function.
The pacing, well took me a few chapters while I got used to the names and places, the characters and their relationships to each other, but then I sped through it, one sitting in front of the fire on a cold February evening…it was bliss.
The plot weaves its way around the criminal drug trade, a notorious gang lord and the importation of a new deadly and viscous drug. It also has great insights into the past of the characters, how they came to be in Hamburg and why.
Overall a book I rally enjoyed, read in one sitting back this up. Some interesting characters and good plot. This is a book I would definitely recommend to readers of gritty, hard-hitting crime with its feet rooted in German Noir. A great read.
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.
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