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Beton Rouge

Published Date: 17th July 2018

Available in


28 December 2018
21 February 2019


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 similar circumstances.

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.



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:


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


‘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 


‘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


‘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 


‘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