Blog Tour – March 2022 – River Clyde – Simone Buchholz

So, another new Orenda title – and, interestingly, this one moves between Hamburg and Scotland, particularly Glasgow.

Yes, although this isn’t your classic crime novel. Much would be gained by reading its predecessor, Hotel Cartagena, as it would help you understand all the characters situations and feelings better. The main character, State Prosecutor Chastity Riley, is not in Hamburg with the rest of her colleagues, though – a letter has arrived, which informs her she’s been left a house in Scotland.

So she leaves everyone to investigate this mysterious legacy?

She does, and the rest of the team are left to investigate a deadly arson attack. However, it has to be said that the crime fiction aspect takes secondary place to Chastity’s trip to Scotland and her own investigation: into her family background and this unexpected gift. She explores Glasgow, drinking in sticky-floored bars, and the trip acts as a kind of therapy from the events in the previous book. The Doublet, a bar I used to frequent, in the West End features – when we drank there the then-future Secretary of State for Scotland, Jim Murphy, was the bar-back. (We thought him rather handsome, actually….*cringe*)

She doesn’t just spend time in Glasgow though, does she?

No – she’s out of the city into the beautiful Scottish countryside, and up towards the Gare Loch, to find the house which she was left. We also learn more about Chastity’s childhood, and some of it explains that hard shell and sarcastic personality.

So it isn’t entirely a crime fiction novel, would you say?

Not 100% – but it’s still a hugely enjoyable book, as expected from Simone Buchholz, with stellar help as usual from translator Rachel Ward. It’s always interesting to see a city – indeed a country – you know well from the perspective of a writer from another country. Fans of Chastity Riley will devour this, but those new to the series are probably profit from starting at least one book earlier (and us readers enjoy any excuse to buy another book!)

A slightly different book to the usual Chastity Riley one, then?

Yes, but it does give us something of an explanation for her tough, take no crap personality, and her dry acerbic sarcasm. Although not as long as some of the other books in the series, it’s hugely enjoyable, and I romped through it. Fans of the series will revel in Simone Buchholz’s whip-smart dialogue, and hopefully everyone will enjoy Chastity’s trip to Glasgow – and perhaps plan one of their own…?

Very highly recommended.

With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me on this Blog Tour, and for her and Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for the ARC. This is an unbiased review.

Check out other reviews on the tour!
Author Simone Buchholz

BLURB: Mired in grief after tragic recent events, state prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great-grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house. 

In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront. 

In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone. 

As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.

Breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is an electrifying, poignant and powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

Blog Tour – March 2022 – Faceless – Vanda Symon

So, Vanda Symon – a name crimeworm has been hearing about a lot for the last wee while…

Yes, she’s definitely been cited as one to watch for a while. Like the fabulous Paul Cleave, of The Quiet People fame, she’s a New Zealand-based writer – and she’s on a par with him, quality-wise. She’s definitely a writer whose backlist I will be investigating!

So tell us a bit about Faceless…

Bradley is an a put-upon office worker – he’s being harangued by a demanding boss, a wife who thinks they should be living the life of Riley, and, frankly, he’s had enough. On the way home after one particularly horrendous day at the office, he does something utterly and completely out of character – he approaches a teenage prostitute. However, it doesn’t just stop at the usual type of transaction – soon he has Billy tied up in an old warehouse. Just for once in his life, Bradley’s going to be the one calling the shots. And no-one’s going to miss a teenage street worker, are they…?

Tell us a little bit about Billy…

Well, she isn’t your typical sex worker – she doesn’t do it to support an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Billy does it to finance her art projects – amazing-sounding graffiti projects she peppers around the area where she works, beautifying the run-down city streets. She – unlike Bradley – is no bullied, put-upon mug – she’s clever, feisty, and one day wants to make a living out of art. And, contrary to what Bradley thinks, there’s someone out there who will miss her…

So who’s this friend of Billy’s then? And are they in a position to help?

Max is homeless and loved on the streets, scavenging meals where and when he can. He and Billy look out for each other; they each have no-one else and so a solid friendship has evolved. When he hasn’t seen Billy for a few days, he knows something is very wrong – she wouldn’t abandon him by choice. But the problem is getting the police to pay attention to a homeless man who most people walk by without a second glance, and his story of a teenager who may, in their opinion, just have given up and started anew elsewhere.

Sounds like a great premise! How did you like the book?

I absolutely loved it! From the off, when you meet Bradley and understand his frustrations, to moving onto Billy and Max through the use of short, sharp chapters that keep the story moving rapidly onwards, you’re pulled right into the story, and kept there. With a shocking, fast-paced ending, this is one book which will keep you reading. Not only that, some of the social issues raised will keep the book lingering in your mind. I totally understand why Vanda Symon is one of these names I’m hearing more and more!

Not to be missed!

With thanks to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to participate in this blog tour, and Orenda Books for the ARC. This is an unbiased review.