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Beton Rouge

Published Date: 17th July 2018

Available in

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EBook
9781912374601
£5.99
28 December 2018
Paperback
9781912374595
£8.99
21 February 2019

Description

Chastity Riley and her new sidekick Ivo investigate the case of newspaper executives who have been caged and tortured outside their offices … on a trail that leads them to the hothouse world of boarding schools and some harrowing secrets…

 

On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of the biggest German newspapers. Closer inspection shows he is a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in a similar way.

Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect … to the dubious past shared by both victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the hothouse world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

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‘Caustic, incisive prose. A street-smart, gutsy heroine. A timely and staggeringly stylish thriller’ Will Carver

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‘With plenty of dry humour and a good old dash of despair, Simone Buchholz is an unconventional, refreshing new voice’

Crime Fiction Lover

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‘Lyrical and pithy’ Sunday Times Crime Club

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‘Take a fascinating and oh so readable journey into the darker side of life, where you need to be able to see in the dark to have an understanding of it. This is the second in the ‘Chastity Riley series’, the first book Blue Night was one of my favourites from last year, so I was waiting for this with huge anticipation, and I can confirm that Beton Rouge is another wonderfully compelling read … Simone Buchholz, with Rachel Ward as translator, creates in less than 200 pages the most taut, incredible intensity. I adore her writing as it takes you into the misty half world between lyrical beauty and raw, grim necessity. Beton Rouge is a killer read, original, unusual and yet I felt that a part of it, in fact a part of Chastity, lodged itself deeply within my soul, it’s quite simply fabulous’ Beton Rouge is LoveReading’s Book of the Month

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Beton Rouge is a fast-paced German thriller set in Hamburg and featuring Chastity Riley of the public prosecutor’s office. She has her cabal of friends with her, but whether that is a good thing or a bad thing is a moot point (adds to the fun though). This is an intriguing revengers tale that explores the nature of blame, guilt and mitigation – what drives a person to crime. Borrowing from the American hardboiled school, the writing is taut, the dialogue sassy and there is an edge of toughness and cynicism to the story. However, what Buchholz borrows she makes her own, the result is a distinctive noir and Chastity is a truly original character. As much as this is a crime story, it’s also Chastity Riley’s personal journey through life, she is the principal fascination of the novel … Buchholz also does a nice line in wry, black humour in her novels and there are some very funny moments in Beton Rouge set against a backdrop of greyness and pessimism … Beton Rouge is a touch of class, a superb noir’ New Books Magazine

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‘The adventures of Hamburg cop Chastity Riley are being translated out of sequence, but this follow up to her impressive and lauded English-language debut BLUE NIGHT certainly delivers the goods. As ever drinking too much coffee and alcohol, smoking like a trooper and profoundly dry-witted and full of heavy sarcasm, Chastity is a heroine with a difference and here works along new colleague Ivo Stepanovic when two naked, tortured men are found displayed, in quick succession, in front of a magazine’s offices and turn out to have been unpopular managers there. Alongside this mystery, they are also confronted by a hit and run on a cyclist. Is there a connection? But the solution is far from obvious and soon the two cops are investigating the common past of the two humiliated victims and journey south to Bavaria in search of answers, while continuously sparring with sharp, witty dialogue and regularly treading the dark side of their home town which comes over almost as a main character in the best tradition of hardboiled writing with an acute sense of locale. With brief, pacy chapters and fizzling dialogue, this almost feels like American procedural noir and not a translation’ Maxim Jakubowski, Crime Time

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‘This book has been translated, rather excellently, by Rachel Ward, and nothing has been lost in translation. There is a great energy in Buchholz writing and that is reflected in the main character Chastity Riley. While this may be classed as a novella it certainly punches above its weight, with short snappy sentences and chapters, there are no wasted words, no trying to pad the story out. There is also an underlying humour, even if the hero does come across as somewhat unconventional … There is a fantastic pace to the story which keeps you hooked from the first sentence all the way to the end. Once again Simone Buchholz holds no punches, with a unique voice that delivers a stylish story. Buchholz proves that you can pack an excellent crime thriller into 186 pages and engross the reader who wants more, once completed’ NB Magazine

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‘Chastity Riley, the central character in Simone Buchholz’s sharp and unrelenting crime noir series, is a one of a kind character. In Beton Rouge, the second book featuring Hamburg’s hard-bitten state prosecutor, Chas and her new colleague Ivo are tasked with investigating violent attacks on the powerful managers of one of Germany’s biggest magazines. What at first seems like revenge for staff layoffs soon evolves into something more sinister as it becomes clear the victims share a suspicious past. The follow-up to Blue Night is a smart and witty book that shines a probing spotlight on society’ Culture Fly

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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’s Blue Night  was awarded the Crime Cologne Award, and runner-up for the German Crime Fiction Prize. The next in the Chastity Riley series, Beton Rouge, won the Radio Bremen Crime Fiction Award and Best Economic Crime Novel 2017, and Mexiko Street (published in 2020 by Orenda Books) won the most prestigious crime fiction award in Germany in 2019. Simone lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son. Follow Simone on Twitter @ohneKlippo and visit her website: simonebuchholz.com.

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 Saarbrücken, 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.  
Twitter –  @FwdTranslations 

Online Reviews

Beton Rouge is another strong character-led novel from German author Simone Buchholz, lovingly translated by Rachel Ward. Following on from Blue Night, it again features feisty and tough public prosecutor Chastity Riley and a mystery to solve. Beton Rouge isn’t a particularly long book but there’s a lot packed within its pages … Short chapters, snappy sentences, witty dialogue and succinct writing have created a fast-paced read – saying ‘just one more chapter’ to myself led me to read most of the book in one sitting. Descriptions are vivid and rich, painting a colourful picture of of the German setting. I loved the chapter names – you’ll have to discover these for yourself – all taken from a line or phrase from within the chapter itself. Finishing Beton Rouge left me wanting more. I really do hope there is more to come!’ Off-the-Shelf Books

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‘Simone Buchholz has once again delivered a gripping read which is brought together through her wonderful narrative and strong, well developed characters who compliment each other’s personalities and flaws! Also, this book is so enjoyable to the English market due to Rachel Ward’s brilliantly seamless translation from German into English which retains Buchholz’s (and Chastity’s) dry and sarcastic humour. I really enjoyed Beton Rouge, it’s a book that if you had the opportunity to, you could easily read in one sitting as it is gripping and a page turner. However, if you don’t have that luxury, it will continue to tempt you to read just a chapter or two in between real life getting in the way…well it did me’ Have Books Will Read 

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‘Simone Buchholz has an extraordinary and very effective writing style which grabs you from the beginning. Her use of figurative speech is nothing short of poetic and her imagery jumps out of the page and kisses you deeply on the mouth … Underlying this story is a strong sense of existential gloom … With a brilliant title, fabulously punchy chapter headings and a style and wit to die for, Simone Buchholz cuts a crystal clear path to Chastity’s world view and in so doing, opens our eyes to cruelty, inequality and a political world view that resonates deeply’

Live and Deadly

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‘I loved this book!! I thought that the story was excellent and I was very quickly addicted to the plot!  The book flowed very well and I loved the writing style, it is a beautifully written story. The characters are fantastic, very well developed and I loved their interaction. Chastity is a superb character an definitely one of my favourites! 4.5 stars from me rounded up to 5 stars for Amazon and Goodreads – very highly recommended!! An excellent plot, brilliant writing style with some fantastic characters – I loved it!!’ Donnas Book Blog 

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‘Once again, it’s a quick read with short chapters and Chastity Riley is back, drinking too much coffee and alcohol, smoking too many cigarettes and generally being the brilliantly sharp, sarcastic and super dry character she was in the first book. This time Chastity deals with a hit and run, two naked men tortured and left in a cage outside their offices and a new work colleague.  To be perfectly honest, and in my opinion, the cases Chastity has to deal with in both stories whilst intriguing and interesting pale into insignificance next to the brilliant characterisation and phenomenal prose Simon Buchholz uses.  Most of the dialogue is utterly magical and at times I had to pause reading and re-read some of her expressions because they are simply wonderful. I actually would happily read about Chastity doing her weekly shop in a supermarket as she is such a fantastic character. Totally and 100% recommend this book’ Compulsive Readers

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‘Its snappy, with short, crisp chapters, which lend themselves well to this very modern novel. It creates the perfect atmosphere … The story is strong and bold. I loved the way it looks at how society treats those that are different and creates from that a classic whodunit about cruelty and retribution. It paints and image of a shadowy city, dismal and unpredictable, creating at atmosphere where I as a reader felt danger lurking around every corner. It cleverly takes the reader down into the bowels of the city and behind the tortured mind of a protagonist bent on punishing his enemies … Without doubt this book is a fitting follow-up to Blue Night and carries on the obvious talent the writer showed in the first novel’ Books are my Cwtches

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‘Simone Buchholz has created such a brilliantly vibrant and believable character that it will take you a matter of pages to get the measure of her and develop a little bit of Chastity Riley book love like the rest of us. Fast paced, full of delightfully diverse and lovable (and detestable) characters, all set against an intriguing and cunningly crafted story, Beton Rouge is an absolutely brilliant book. I loved it and I’m only

gutted I read it so quickly. I’m missing Chastity and Ivo already. Please tell me they’ll be back?’ Jen Meds Book Reviews 

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‘Written in short sentences with equally short chapters, this is a snappy, fast paced read which you fly through. You get to hear Chastity’s thoughts and each chapter has to the point information. You don’t feel as if there are any wasted words- far from it. There is lashings of atmosphere in Hamburg and in all, in Beton Rouge, you have a great little nugget of crime writing which glitters like a harsh, flinty jewel. In short: A second portion of Chastity Riley to savour’ Books Life and Everything

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‘I adore the way Simone Buchholz writes and Rachel Ward has done an outstanding job of translating. Riley is our narrator so the sentences are punchy, sharp and to the point. Exactly like her. The chapters are short which I always find, makes me read things quicker. The opening chapter hooks you in, it’s a fantastic opener, and then you just can’t leave this story without knowing what happens next. Witty, original, smart and entertaining – more please!’ Emmas Bookish Corner

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‘This is a pretty quick read that focuses on both Chastity and the story line so I felt that I got a real good feel about who she is and how she ticks. I wasn’t the only newbie to the story as she is partnered by Ivo Stepanovic which made them a super entertainment package. The pair just bounced off each other like they had known each other years. The chapters are incredibly short making the read snappy, with lots of information being given to me without it jumbled up with other irrelevant bits. I really liked the direction that the story went, the down to earth investigators and the personal touch of who they are too. An author I look forward to reading more from’

Books From Dusk Till Dawn

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‘Told in a sequence of short, punchy chapters we join Chastity Riley – prosecutor – in an investigation into a humiliating and violent attack … Beton Rouge was translated to English by Rachel Ward who has done a terrific job. The language in the story is lyrical or poetic at times, very descriptive and often emotive and this shines through in the story telling which gives Beton Rouge a unique and distinctive feel. Another terrific release from Orenda Books who seem to have a magical ability to find compelling stories’ Grab This Book

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‘This is a short book which comes in at just under 200 pages and features short, snappy chapters with concise and precise sentences. Words are carefully chosen to convey maximum impact … It is brilliant, astute writing and feels like a sorbet palate cleanser during a particularly rich meal; sharp and refreshing and with an edge that cannot be put into words … Dark and delicious this slice of German noir is something very special indeed and I can’t wait for more’ Beverley Has Read

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‘The story is from Chastity’s point of view, she’s the narrator, so we learn a lot about her, her life and how she thinks. The style hints at Chandlers Marlowe but is uniquely Simone Buchholz. It is a beautifully written book, lyrical and a joy to read. I highly recommend this book and, even though it’s perfectly good as a stand- alone, do read Blue Night too you won’t regret it. Let’s hope it won’t be long before we get to read more of Chastity Riley’ Love Books Read Books

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‘The reader is drawn in straight away with the mention of two intriguing, if in one case, slightly bizarre cases involving the tourture and humiliation of two men … This is a fairly short book but the author manages to pack a lot of action into the pages. The chapters are also fairly short which makes for a fast, gripping read and the action never really let’s up which makes the book very gripping. The ending seemed to come much too soon and I’m looking forward to the next book in the series, especially as I’d love to read more about Chastity’

Over the Rainbow Book Blog

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Buchholz’s characterisation of Bavaria as a kind of rural Hell is fascinating and disturbing, adding to the deep loathing we’ve already seen Riley display towards the countryside by painting the region as mean-minded, both nosy about neighbours’ business and at the same time inclined to turn a blind eye to all kinds of abuses and discontents … This is all delightfully noir, a mood Buchholz gleefully plays up in the writing (and that Ward adeptly conveys in her deeply readable translation) with Chastity left doubtful about her future, brooding on her past and living, really, like her new colleague, very much in the present. An excellent book, deeply moody, atmospheric and evocative’ Blue Book Balloon

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‘This a short read at only 192 pages and I flew through the first half of the book on my train journey home from work. I personally felt like the book wasn’t entirely finished when I got to the end, but this is part of a series so maybe that was intentional as I have no doubt there are further books to come and maybe things will follow on in the next book. This was written very differently to most other books I have read with some chapters not even being a page long. Sometimes this made the book feel a bit disjointed for me but it definitely kept the pace moving along at a quick speed! Overall I did enjoy this book, Chastity’s character really made it for me and I would be interested to see where the author takes this character in the next book in the series’ Bucks Books Beyond

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‘The writing is beautiful and having experienced listening to her read from the previous book at an event last year I could hear her read this. It feels real, these characters aren’t whiter than white. They have problems, they feel lonely, they sometimes  do things that they shouldn’t do. I hope more of this series will be translated. It’s one that I could happily read back to back’ Stephs Book Blog

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‘I think what I enjoy most about the particular style Buchholz brings to the table, is the ‘I don’t care what is going on around me – my grasp on reality and life in general is more important’ attitude of the main character. This is what gives the Chastity Riley series a distinctive noir touch, and of course the more brusque character interaction and dialogue … I have a feeling that Buchholz is just getting started, and not just where the Chastity Riley series is concerned. She has a fresh, brash voice and isn’t afraid to use it. It’s criminal noir with characters who are bigger than the plot, which makes them the story. Definitely an author to watch out for’ Cheryl MM Book Blog

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‘Chastity Riley is on of those characters that gets under your skin, like the Hamburg fog, you don’t realise she is in there until you are bone deep into the story. Her relationship with her new partner is precariously balanced, her friends minimal and she likes to control her personal life as much as her work life … Why has someone decided to display, like circus animals, 2 publishing managers? Tortured, humiliated and literally as well metaphorically exposed, the police have not only a hard time figuring out who done it, but how it was done with no witnesses and many thinking the men got their due. Add in a narrator who makes you feel like you are living in her stream of consciouness, the landscape of Hamburg which is a character in and of itself plus a unique writing style which has me clamouring to read ‘Blue Night’ and follow where Chastity Riley goes next, and you have a winning combination of noir thriller’ Rachel Read It

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Simone writes a guest post titled ‘I Think I Saw Your Soul in a Kebab Shop Late Last Night’ as part of the Beton Rouge blog tour.

Portable Magic

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‘This book delivers punch after punch, and does so rapidly before I knew it, it was all over, leaving me dazed and with little ability to do much more than sit there. It was brilliant. This is a thriller unlike any I have read before. It is quite a quick read, clocking in at just under 190 pages (in my print edition) but what is contained in there is a wonderfully written protagonist whose flaws make her all the more relatable. She is gutsy, street wise, and thoroughly enjoyable … I found the storyline brilliant, the writing style straying from what is the norm in this genre, to its benefit. Brilliantly stylish, great wordplay and with just the right touch of humour, this is one that deserves your attention. Highly recommended’ Don Jimmy Reviews

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‘As much as the story was about the crimes involved, it’s just as much about Chastity and the people she interacts with on a daily basis Klatsche, Calabretta, Faller, Rocco and Carla.  I’m assuming these are regular characters who have featured in previous books however I got enough background information to piece together their relationships and how they all fit into her life.  But whether Chastity is totally happy on the inside, I guess we’ll have to follow her story as I hope that we get more books featuring her in the not too distant future’

Shazs Book Blog

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Novel Deelights posts an extract from Beton Rouge as part of the blog tour. Novel Deelights

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‘Buchholz writes with such a quick pace, lent to with the aid of short chapters, that a reader will get lost within the story of BETON ROUGE easily. I found myself not looking up until the first 50 pages had passed, completely unaware of how much time had passed. I’m a huge fan of short chapters and think when they are done right, they instantly set the pace of the book, which is exactly what happened for me here. Buchholz also has a unique way of drawing the reader to keep reading by giving each chapter a unique title. Each title is actually taken from the contents of the chapters, which means only one thing…you must keep reading!’ What Jess Reads

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‘I havent read the first book but I didn’t feel I needed to as I was immediately gripped by the case at hand, Chastity is a bit of a gritty character but you also see a softer side to her later on which was good as the overall feel of the book is quite bleak. It’s a short enough read just under 200 pages and you wont see the time go as you get lost in uncovering the crimes, why were these men tortured, whats their common history and what is the end game? This is a very fast paced book and you will race to the end to get your questions answered. Dark and gritty just how we like our Noir!’ Not Another Book Blogger

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‘This is the first Simone Buchholz book I’ve read and I loved it. It grabbed me from the first few paragraphs and wouldn’t let me go. Chastity Riley is a new heroine of mine, I love her attitude to life and everything and the way she sees the world is unique and fabulous … The characters and location came off the page really well for me, everything was clear and the story flowed so well I lost track of everything else … As mentioned, I’ve not read Blue Night but this book is now firmly on my reading list and I can’t wait to read more in this series. If you’ve not discovered this unique writing yet, I would recommend you do very soon it’s not to be missed. Fabulous!’ Book Lover Worm Blog

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‘Not only is characterisation strong in this book, the plotting is superb. Buchholz leads her on a journey through the pages that twists and weaves expertly into the darkness of an individual who is hellbent on making a point with the torture and caging of two men … The way that the strands of the plot pull together, coupled with short chapters and punchy writing, makes this a quick read. I found that I read this in one evening, racing through the pages to make connections and find out the links between the cases and the identity of the of the menacing figure obscured by the shadows … The cover image of the book is simple but effective, giving readers a fantastic visual prompt, just such a powerful image and one that works perfectly with the writing’ The Quiet Knitter

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‘Chastity herself is an unusual heroine. She’s a hard-drinking mess of a person but somehow manages to get the job done. Her story is compelling and seems complex. She has suffered and is obviously running from her own demons. The writing style is sharp and punchy adding to the sense of chaos that seems to follow Chastity. How she gets up and with it most days I’m not sure but there is a steely determination about her. It’s refreshing to see such a strong but damaged female lead and I look forward to getting to know her more. This is a series to watch and I thoroughly urge you to jump on board’ Tales Before Bedtime

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‘Buchholz’s rhythmic style, which encompasses short, staccato sentences and some quite poetic evocations of melancholic Hamburg and the southern Germany hinterland, sets the tone for the book. Classy, smartly written and extremely visual, I can’t recommend Beton Rouge enough. It’s quite frankly wonderful. Especially with some good jazz. And a single malt’ The Literary Shed

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‘This is a powerful read with much to say about the side of life which would be too unconventional for many, and too dark and desperate for most. It a surprisingly bleak book, offering a hopeless picture of the lives of many only partly relived by appropriate music. It is nevertheless a compelling and gripping read, which kept me involved and interested through the short chapters which reflects the pace of lives lived on the edge. Chasity Riley is a memorable and unlikely heroine, sometimes more observer than protagonist, constant commentator and unpredictable character. I found this a challenging read, to be recommended for its consistency and power, and having a unique style’ Northern Reader

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‘What impressed most was Bucholz’s structure, short punchy chapters, and narrative that was razor sharp. Whilst the crimes were there to be solved, they were secondary to what I thought was the real purpose of the novel. I almost felt like I was reading the inner workings of Riley’s mind, sensed her turmoil as she fought with herself. Change was coming and I am not sure she liked it, it left her adrift and I wondered if Bucholz was using Beton Rouge as a stepping stone to something bigger and more challenging and spectacular in book three. I may have found Riley frustrating at times but you couldn’t help but hold a grudging admiration and respect for Bucholz’s creation’ My Bookish Blogspot

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‘Although Beton Rouge is a crime thriller which for once doesn’t have murder as the central case being investigated, it is still a sharply insightful exposé of a shadowy world most of us are only dimly aware of. The humour is acerbically black and it’s a pessimistic reflection of society but there’s a poetry to the writing too making Beton Rouge such a joy to read from start to finish. Credit must be given here to Rachel Ward’s translation which for ensuring that none of the nuances of Simone Buchholz’s original prose are lost. A word too for the chapter headings which are a consistent delight. Beton Rouge is an outstanding thriller which evokes all the stylishly cool spirit of traditional hard-boiled Noir yet is a fresh and compelling addition to the current crime fiction scene. Highly recommended’

Hair Past a Freckle

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‘This had been a really quick read, the chapters are really short and with quite original names on them. It was like eating pop-corns, just one more…! This is the second case of Chastity Riley and I will have to admit that I felt a little lost with some of the characters connections, some actions and situations affected more Chastity than I would had guessed, so I suppose there’s something more that I was missing. But it will not affect the case at all, and let me say that is really twisted! Don’t doubt that I’ll follow Chastity on her next case, she is bold and interesting, and her cases will leave no one indifferent! Ready to enter the cage?’ Varietats

Reviews