Today I am pleased to be able to participate in the blog tour for Blue Night by Simone Buchholz and have an excerpt from the book for you. My thanks go to Orenda Books and Anne Cater.
Also on the blog tour today is Emma's Bookish Corner
A real find in the burgeoning field of European crime fiction. Simone Buchholz writes with real authority and a pungent, noir-ish sense of time and place. Blue Night is a palpable hit’ Barry Forshaw
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…
My new office in the public prosecution department is only half as big as my old one. It’s more of a storeroom than an office really. The idea was probably to come up with a special cell, just for me, one where only I – and they – know it’s a cell. Every time I look out of the narrow window I’m amazed that it isn’t barred.
Officially, I have a secretary, but because there’s no anteroom to my office, only a corridor, the secretary sits in the outer office belonging to my colleagues in drugs. So obviously she’s mainly their secretary and not mine. It doesn’t really bother me, if I’m honest. It’s just another excuse to crawl out of my cubbyhole. And obviously you don’t need a secretary for most things. I’m perfectly capable of phoning the archive myself, for example.
‘Riley here, hello.’
‘I’d like everything relating to Gjergj Malaj, as soon as possible, please.’
‘From the early nineties to now?’
‘Anywhere the name appears.’
‘It’ll take a while; that’s almost a hundred and fifty files.’
‘I know,’ I say, hanging up.
I open the arrow slit in the wall and light a cigarette.
I hope to smell a faint hint of spring or hear a bird twittering in a tree. But the only thing I notice is the disaster galloping down on us.
‘Calabretta thinks Faller wants to shaft the Albanian. All by himself.’
I’m standing at the bar at Klatsche’s place, a beer in front of me and the boss in person behind the bar.
‘Calabretta thinks what?’ Klatsche’s clattering around, filling the fridge with bottles.
‘That Faller’s hatched a plan,’ I say. ‘And that he’s about to put his plan into action. He seems to have decided that it’s bang out of order to have the Albanian still running around free, especially now he’s putting on society airs.’
‘It is out of order,’ says Klatsche. ‘I’m with Faller on that one. That guy’s the biggest skunk in town. He ought to be banged up, not going to receptions at the Hotel Atlantic.’
He’s stopped putting the bottles away. He’s opened a beer and lit a cigarette. There’s not much light in the Blue Night; the friendly shimmer in the room mainly comes from the candles on the tables and in golden holders on the red walls. And there’s a warm yellow tinge to the blue neon sign above the liquor shelf. It makes no sense. Klatsche insists it’s tinged with red, but that’s not true. It’s yellow. Yet it doesn’t turn the blue green. It’s nuts.
‘Of course he ought to be banged up,’
I say. I’d like to add something clever starting with ‘but’ to explain why he hasn’t been. I can’t think of anything. I’ve been chewing on it for years; we’ve all been chewing on it for years – decades, it feels like. And Faller won’t get the Albanian banged up now. He’ll just get himself into trouble. Gjergj Malaj sent him a vicious warning years ago. Faller’s suffered for it ever since. Malaj won’t warn him off again.
Klatsche knows all this. I don’t need to explain it to him. He just watches us as we throw ourselves at windmills and run into brick walls. He’s the one who scrapes us out of the corners each time and patches us up with a palette of strong drinks and kind words.
I sigh; we clink bottles.
‘You’re worried about Faller,’ he says.
‘He’s starting to crack up,’ I say. ‘He feels too strong. It’s not good to feel too strong. You forget to take cover. I mean, we’ve been through all that…’
‘Has he done anything that could be dangerous yet?’
‘No idea,’ I say. ‘According to Calabretta, he hinted that he’s planning something soon.’
‘Faller was boasting? Doesn’t sound like him.’
‘He wasn’t. Calabretta reckons he’s going to need him, and that’s
why he let him in on it.’
I light a cigarette; Klatsche pushes over an ashtray.
‘We’ve got a top mole on the team then,’ he says. ‘And I’ll keep my ears open in case anyone’s noticed any, er, disturbances in the Force, or whatever.’ He waves his beer bottle and makes lightsaber noises.
‘But he didn’t say anything to you?’
I shake my head. ‘I met him this morning, and he was just brewing up mysterious stories,’ I say. ‘Nothing specific. I thought he was feeling good, that’s all. Not as crumpled as usual. More like he was having a second spring, if you see what I mean.’
‘That all fits,’ says Klatsche. ‘And if we assume that Faller’s not in love, it must be his second spring as a cop.’ He draws on his cigarette. ‘Fair enough … But the idea of Faller as a lone avenger against organised crime … He’s scaring me.’
‘Faller or the Albanian?’ I ask.
‘The combination, sweetheart.’ He raises his beer bottle and drinks. ‘What’s the story with your car, by the way?’ he asks.
‘Why mention that now?’
He shrugs. ‘Talk of fear, maybe.’
‘Bollocks, Klatsche. I’m not scared of driving.’ I swig my beer. ‘The car broke down,’ I say. ‘I left it in Mecklenburg.’
‘Garage,’ I say, because I don’t dare tell him I just left it where it was.
‘Garage, uh-huh.’ He looks at me.
He knows perfectly well that that’s not true.
He says nothing. We drink up our beer. Outside we can hear a police siren on the Reeperbahn.
Then the door opens and a bunch of customers come in. Three women, five men, early thirties, dressed like hipsters. Klatsche’s bar is transforming slowly but surely from a red-light dive to a trendy
hangout. I bet next year people will come in the mornings and ask if this is a sober rave.
I nip behind the bar, give Klatsche a kiss on the cheek and say, ‘Slip me a couple of beers, I’ve got to go.’
To follow the blog tour and see what other readers think, check out my fellow bloggers thoughts.
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.
Follow the author or twitter at ohneKlippo
Advance praise for Blue Knight
‘A dark mix of gritty police procedural and rollercoaster ride, swirling with humour and affection, thanks to its feisty protagonist, Chas Riley. Sharp dialogue, an atmospheric setting and an intriguing plot kept me reading into the early hours. Certainly an author to watch’ Off-the-Shelf Books.
‘Blue Night hits hard from page one with its beautifully atmospheric noir feel and a divisive, engaging main character in Chastity Riley – one to watch’ Liz Loves Books.
‘Not a word out of place – memorable characters – an absolute treat!’ Michael J. Malone, author of A Suitable Lie.
‘Had me in its clutches from the very beginning. Exciting, unique and highly more-ish; thanks to Blue
Night, my night was no longer blue’ The Writing Garnet
‘A truly fresh narrative style which slowly lays out an intriguing and complex story. The protagonist, Chastity Riley, is one you are immediately drawn to, a unique and ultimately likeable character in a richly drawn world of vice’ Jen Meds Book Reviews
'Explosive writing, larger-than-life characters, a killer mystery ... Loved it!' LV Hay, author of The Other Twin
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