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…
About two-thirds of the way through Blue Night, Simone Buchholz describes a bar as being, “Clear and uncompromising and dark and glorious and perfectly off beat“, a sentiment that could also be used to describe this astonishing novel. Finishing this book late one night whilst tucked up in bed I had to resist the urge to get up and write this review right then as I felt so completely bowled over by Blue Night that my head was full of this striking and unique work of fiction.
Chastity Riley is a state prosecutor in the Hamburg Police who, due to a previous misdemeanour is now working in Witness Protection. Assigned to a man, Joe, who is in hospital after suffering a serious assault including the removal of his right index finger with a pair of pliers she gains his trust and discovers corruption and darkness on the streets of Germany.
There is a very different narrative structure to this book which took me a little while to get to grips with but when I did I found I loved it. The action is interspersed with short chapters giving brief overviews of the characters thoughts at various times in the past. Simone Buchholz has such a way with words that these short, sparse paragraphs communicate far more in a few sentences than some books do in full chapters. Reading these didn’t detract from the action, in fact they heightened it, giving real depth and pathos to the characters and they packed a real punch.
Chastity is cynical, slightly broken, loyal and irresponsible and I absolutely loved her. The characterisation in Blue Night is on point and there is real love and care for the depiction of Chastity and her friends, Klassman, Carla, Rocco and Calabretta. The interplay and their relationships are well drawn and realistic – support, love, arguments – it is brutal yet beautiful.
This is a dark, gritty read with heaps of action. It is a short book (the paperback comes in at around 180 pages) but it packs a real punch and is a testament to Simone Buchholz’s writing that so much is contained within those pages. There is an abundance of atmosphere; the streets of Hamburg leap off the pages and I was dying to be in the Blue Night drinking vodka at the bar. Words are used sparingly and to great effect creating a beautiful noir novel which, since I finished reading it, hasn’t been far from my thoughts making other books pale into insignificance. Wonderful.
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.
I am thrilled to be one of today’s stops for the Blog Tour for Blue Night, many thanks to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books and Anne Cater at Random Things for a copy of the book in return for an honest review. You can find both Orenda Books and Simone Buchholz on Twitter.
Blue Night is out now in ebook and is published on the 28th February in paperback and can be bought here. Make sure you check out the other stops on the tour, details are beneath!