Blue Night by Simone Buchholz (tr. by Rachel Ward) #BookReview #BlogTour

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 almost every bone in his body broken, a finger cut off, and refusing to speak in anything other than riddles 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.
Fresh, fiendishly fast paced and full of devious twists and all the hard boiled poetry and ascerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.

I'm delighted to be hosting the blog tour for Blue Night by Simone Buchholz today, many thanks to Orenda Books and Anne Cater for inviting me and for my advance copy of the novel.
If Blue Night was a film it would be black and white and ideally star the likes of Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney and Ava Gardner. The characters may be vodka rather than whisky sodden and the action takes place in Hamburg rather than America but with its intricate plot, cynical heroes (and anti-heroes) and acerbic dialogue, it oozes the effortless style of Film Noir. A fairly short book with no word wasted, it's a real testament to Simone Buchholz's writing that neither plot nor characterisation is sacrificed and in fact, the sparsity of language lends itself perfectly to both.
Although the first Chas Riley book to be published in English (and credit must be given here for Rachel Ward's superb translation), it's not the first book to star the world-weary state prosecutor. I don't know whether it's a feature of all the books in the series but I really enjoyed the author's clever use of diary-like entries interspersed between the chapters. While most of the book is narrated by Chastity, these individual excerpts are written from the point of view of all the characters. Told in chronological order, the first date from 1982 and eventually they catch up with the current day. These little fragments of extra information serve two purposes; they give us some useful back story about how the characters met without having to wade through pages of exposition, and they provide some insights we wouldn't have had from Riley's perspective alone.
I adored the characters in Blue Night, particularly Chastity Riley and her disparate group of friends. They are hard drinking, heavy smoking, damaged individuals who have somehow found one another despite their differences and have become family to one another, not without their problems but fiercely loyal and supportive. They may be all slightly broken, some more than others, they argue and keep secrets but I think Bogart would approve of this beautiful friendship.
The plot revolves around 'Joe' an unidentified man who is brought into hospital after being brutally beaten up. Chas is now working in Witness Protection after running into trouble as a state prosecutor and is assigned to his case. She manages to gain his trust which leads her into an investigation into organised crime, drug running and corruption. The story is complex and twisted, this was never going to be a straightforward crime is committed then solved book and indeed what we are given is something much bleaker. This is the dirty side of crime where justice is delivered as much by bullet as in a court and the unluckiest victims are those who end up dying as addicts on the streets.
With its hard-hitting and plentiful action, Simone Buchholz has created a contemporary thriller with all the coolness of classic Noir. Blue Night is dark, pessimistic and gritty; exuding atmosphere, the story enveloped me like wisps of cigarette smoke. I loved it and can't wait to read more of this exciting series.

Blue Night is published by Orenda Books, it is out now in ebook and will be available from 28th February 2018 in paperback. You can purchase or pre-order your copy here.

Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour, details are below.

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.
Simone can be found on Twitter as @ohneKlippo

About the Translator

Rachel Ward translates from German and French to English. Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study Modern Languages at the University of East Anglia. She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saarbr├╝cken, Germany. During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002. Her published translations include the Nea Fox series of crime novels by Amelia Ellis, and books for young people such as Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel.  
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Twitter –  @FwdTranslations
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  1. Thank you for your continued Blog Tour support Karen x


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