Sent to me by Orenda Books in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 28/02/18
Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: Paperback, 272pp
Summed up in a word: Perspicacious (probably a bit wordy but I like it :D)
Welcome to my stop on the Blue Night Blog Tour hosted by Orenda Books. I have a short review of Blue Night to share with you all and it is definitely a positive one. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Chastity Riley and I hope to seek out the other novels very soon. This was my first experience of Simone Buchholz’s sharp, concise and atmospheric writing and I can’t wait to get some more. Thank you for stopping by to check out the tour, please visit and support all the other blogs on this tour as well.
Blue Night – Synopsis
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 acerbic wit of the best noir, Blue Night marks the stunning start of a brilliant new crime series, from one of Germany’s bestselling authors.
Chastity Riley is a hands-on state prosecutor. In Blue Night she has been benched to witness protection due to her actions in her previous case and now has to spend her days looking after Joe, an unknown individual who has landed in hospital with multiple broken bones and a missing index finger. Riley sees Joe as an enigma that needs breaking and sets about wearing Joe down and pressing him for information. Riley soon discovers that there is an immediate, and extra-strength shady, threat from the criminal underworld in Hamburg and she, along with her colleagues and allies, has to intervene. Riley must handle the pressure, put herself and others at risk and break the story wide open. As separate plots converge together and twist into one, Simone Buchholz brings together a daring, high-stakes, fast-paced and noir-ish crime story. The narrative in Blue Night is seamlessly bold and brazen; Buchholz never misses an opportunity to be trenchant and candid with her writing and I enjoyed my time with her story. Blue Night is a valuable addition to the genre that will appeal to almost all crime readers in one way or another.
Chastity Riley is the centre of this series and Buchholz has made her into an immensely readable central character. A hardened prosecutor who has a no-nonsense and cynical attitude but is also loyal and genuine to those she surrounds herself with. There is a strong cast of characters within this series and being a first time reader was a bit of a shame. I have missed out on so much backstory and inside information so I definitely recommend checking out the other Riley novels first. Riley’s dialogue, thought processes and attitude is what makes her so enjoyable. Being on witness protection is frustrating for her and as soon as the case breaks open she is fierce and boundless in her pursuit of the facts. So good!
I was impressed with how Buchholz laid out this narrative with Riley taking centre stage but jumping back to comprehensive overview sections showing where everyone was (and what they were thinking) over the years leading up to the main event. They are short and sweet but they really shook up the tone and perspective of current events and gave the reader secretive insights into all the characters involvement including the criminal boss that everyone is chasing which added an interesting twist. The other element of Buchholz’s writing that impressed me was how concise and punchy it is; not a word is wasted and it paints a vivid picture of the interactions between individuals and the city of Hamburg. There are plenty of strong themes to keep crime/noir fans involved throughout including drug culture, secrecy, division, carnage, redemption and hidden connections. SB slowly sheds lights on the inner-workings and the secret alliances between certain characters and it makes for a surprising read at times.
My only concerns with SB’s writing are the length of the novel and a slight lack of direction in the beginning. I felt that as Riley was reeling at the beginning of this novel so was the narrative. It took a while to warm up but when it fully kicked into gear I couldn’t get enough of it. I could have done with a lot more novel I think as it resolves itself way too quickly and the momentum that SB produces stops too soon for me. That said, it is a perfect excuse to seek out more of her novels in the future.
I love reading crime/noir that is set in other countries as it is provides an alternative and usually insightful narrative into the differences and similarities of criminality within other nations. This works especially well with Buchholz’s atmospheric and immersive writing style. Hamburg is such an interesting city and I thought SB included it in a meaningful way. SB is passionate about her country and it adds a pleasant flavour to the writing. Blue Night contains all the danger, thrills and twists required to keep the reader on edge throughout and I highly recommend it to all crime readers. It was a treat to experience Chastity Riley’s story and I hope to cross paths with her again soon.
About Simone Buchholz
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.