I have been looking forward to introducing you to this unusual gem of a book. It puts the darkness in the word Noir with its sharp-tongued dialogues and very confrontational style. There are no candy floss scenarios lurking in these pages. Welcome to the BlogTour for Blue Night by Simone Buchholz.
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.
About the book
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…
(Translated by Rachel Ward)
Chastity Riley is to the 21st century what Horst Schimanski was to the 80’s, the only difference being gender and that Riley doesn’t have a sidekick, but she does surround herself with the outsiders and rebels of society. Her own group of friends, colleagues and handy contacts. Not exactly upstanding citizens, but very much people who are interested in justice. Well, let’s say their own kind of justice.
Riley finds herself isolated at work, restricted and demoted after making a series of serious mistakes in her role as a high ranking state prosecutor. She is assigned the case of a John Doe, who was beaten viciously and left to die. She has her own way of gaining his confidence and making him talk by building a rapport via food and beer. Meanwhile he seems to be ten steps ahead of her and willing to reveal information, which in turn points her in the direction of a major criminal operation.
This is Noir with an interesting staccato like pace and style added to give it a more brash, realistic and curt feeling. Buchholz doesn’t have any words to spare. Her dialogue is abrupt, sharp and to the point. Often giving the appearance of an afterthought or emotional revelation rather than the bittersweet moment of honesty it actually represents.
Interspersed between the dialogues and functioning as a chapter divider of sorts are comments or statements made by the main characters in the book. As if some random reporter were asking them for a running commentary every now and again on the situation at hand or on the particular time-frame and year the characters are in. The comments are given purely from each character’s own perspective, which gives the whole story an element of critical audience watching from the peanut gallery. It is an innovative approach and adds to the general Noirish feeling of the book.
I was raised in Germany, and speak the language at native level, so I can say with absolute certainty that certain idioms and common phrases get lost in translation. It is a common element of translation, but is more evident in certain languages and has nothing to do with the translation or expertise of the translator. So, with that being said I can’t wait to read this again in the original language.
Buchholz has a refreshingly new provocative voice, and I have no doubt she will stand out amongst a sea of writers. She has a take no prisoners attitude when it comes to the validity and eccentricity of her characters, and her plot. Blue Night is to books what a shot of whiskey of is to the world of liquor. It takes your breath away and then it burns until a warmth settles into the pit of your stomach. That’s the kind of mark and statement Buchholz is making.