- Paperback: 276 pages
- Publisher: Orenda (28 Feb. 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1912374013
- ISBN-13: 978-1912374014
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.5 x 19.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 31 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,733 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Blue Night (Chastity Riley) Paperback – 28 Feb 2018
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"By turns lyrical and pithy, this adventure set in the melting pot of contemporary Hamburg has a plot and a sensibility that both owe something to mind-altering substances. Disgraced state prosecutor Chastity Riley chases round the dive bars of the port city pursuing and being pursued by a beguiling cast of cops, criminals and chums, delivering scalding one-liners as she goes. Lots of fun." -- Times Crime Club
"This is absolutely a novel that will have you turning pages without fail until you reach the end! If you're a fan of noir or are looking for a different kind of crime read, Blue Night is absolutely a novel you should pick up. Its relative length (under 200 pages) makes it readable in one sitting, which is something you will likely want to do as soon as you begin!" --The Crime Review
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 the second Place of 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.
Top customer reviews
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I don't really know much about the German legal system and so trying to see where everyone fit together, especially Chas in relation to the regular Police and her jurisdiction on the investigation took me a while to work out. This is a story which takes the reader on a very unexpected ride, many diversions taken due to official and gang related road blocks, which bring the reader slowly but surely back to a surprising central thread. The story begins when Chas is in essence given babysitting duties over a victim of quite extreme violence, a man very reluctant to answer questions about himself, never mind his assailants. Not one to be put off, Chas decides to find out for herself just who this man could be and who attacked him, an task which brings her surprisingly close to home as well as taking her to the far reaches of Eastern Germany and an unexpected investigation.
The protagonist Chastity 'Chas' Riley is one you are immediately drawn to, a strong and ultimately engaging character in a richly drawn world of vice. She is an ultimately flawed character who acts first and perhaps thinks things through later. However I had a true respect for her and was happy to follow her through the story. As the lions share of the book was told in her voice, it is essential you can bond with her as a person and the humanity, the normality of her character, even an edge of vulnerability in her reluctance to truly open up to others, makes this possible. She is not Wonder Woman. This is not a one woman crusade against the bad guys, each of her friends and colleagues has their part to play in getting to the truth. But she is tenacious, she is believable and she is, most importantly, likable.
This is my first time of reading about the darker side of modern day Germany, the seedier side they don't tell you about in the glossy tourism brochures but one which is reminiscent of any major city across the globe. Drugs, murder and violence are all a part of this story, not in a particularly gruesome way, but the threat is always just bubbling under the surface. Most of the action takes place away from any police station, a lot of it happening in the bar which Chas's lover runs, or the hospital in which the mysterious man is still laid up as a patient. And perhaps because of this the action has that certain edge. It's not gritty, not necessarily dark in tone, although there is little by way of hope in the story itself with the central theme actually quite depressing when you get down to basics, but there is just something. It's really hard to describe but I liked it. I'm certainly keen to read more.
As I said before, the narrative styling of this book is very unique but don't let it put you off. That fog you think you are seeing when you first start reading will lift and everything will suddenly become clear as day. And this point is where you will start to smile as you realise what a clever thriller this is. All credit to Rachel Ward too as the translation of this book is seamless, making the direct first person narrative of Chas, and the other assorted characters, just fly.
Blue Night is the first book in the Chastity Riley series and is a number one bestseller in Germany by German writer Simone Buchholz. It is published by Orenda Books and excellently translated by Rachel Ward.
With a very unique style of writing, containing sharp and short sentences, Blue Night tells us the story of Chastity Riley. At less than 200 pages, it is a compact tale with a very tough edge.
After a recent demotion, Chastity is itching to get her hands into something again. Currently working in witness protection, Chastity is bored. Her one saving grace are her friends. A mix of various characters, Chastity’s friends inhabit all parts of life. Restaurant owners Rocco and Carla, owner of the Blue Night bar, and her lover, Klatsche, and fellow law enforcers Faller and Calabretta. These are all family to Chastity and their friendship is very important to her.
Chastity’s story is never fully fleshed out, with just tantalizing snippets occasionally revealed to the reader. She is someone who has suffered great pain and her life has become a endless circle of caffeine, cigarettes and copious levels of alcohol. There is an underlying anger in Chastity and this, combined with her lifestyle and her shadowy history, makes her quite an enigmatic individual.
Blue Night takes the reader into the darkness of the drugs culture in Hamburg and beyond. With a tip-off from a man she currently has under police security in the local hospital, Chastity soon finds herself involved in a case that opens her eyes to the underbelly of the drug world. Controlled locally by the Albanian Mafia, these people are dangerous. They have created a dual identity, where their wealth has brought them, and bought them, entry into the highest echelons of society. These are people you do not want to mess with. Chastity soon becomes aware that one of her friends is going rogue and is going to try to collapse the empire of these Albanians as a lone vigilante.
With the assistance of a source in Leipzig, Chastity is soon exposed to the hidden underground lives of the drug user.
‘They look terrible; they really are living corpses…No idea how old they are. Their faces are sunken. There are green ulcers on their hands, on their arms and on their necks….I can’t move and I can’t speak. I want; to scream. To cry. This is just wrong’
What she sees frightens her. It drives her determination to help put a stop to this squalid existence for these zombie-like creatures, these human beings now reduced to the depths of depravity, all for one man’s wealth and power.
Chastity Riley’s own life runs in parallel with this case and we get a deeper look into her relationship with her friends. She has a very close bond with all these people, with Simone Buchholz painting quite a vivid picture of the closeness of their friendship.
‘Rocco’s cooked for everyone….Rocco and Carla call it mixing the glue. Holding the family together. We do this every week. And every few weeks something is different. A different person needs a bit more glue than the rest’
Chastity Riley has been described by some as a modern day Philip Marlowe. She is tough. She is hard. She is mentally strong. But yet she has a very vulnerable side that is ‘almost hidden’ from the reader. The chapters are short and are infused with one-liners and monologues, making it a very fast book to read.
Blue Night is 100% German. Set in Germany and originally written in German, it introduces the reader to a style that many may not have been exposed to before.
Blue Night is noir. It is, I imagine, what would have been termed hard-boiled crime fiction, a style synonymous with 1920’s America, but with a very modern and German twist.
Who really is Chastity Riley? What made her who she is? I expect Simone Buchholz will reveal a few further secrets as the series continues….
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Blue Night is the first in a series featuring Hamburg public prosecutor Chastity Riley.Read more