Tag: Neuhaus

Big Bad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus

Posted April 17, 2014 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime / 0 Comments

Big Bad Wolf by Nele NeuhausTitle: Big Bad Wolf (Goodreads)
Series: Bodenstein & Kirchhoff #6
, 2014
Pages: 404
Buy: Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

After finishing The New York Trilogy I needed something light, something I didn’t have to analyse. I picked up Big Bad Wolf because I enjoyed Snow White Must Die so much. I’m not saying that I can’t analyse a novel like this one (you can analyse every text), I just think at times some light reading is needed. Big Bad Wolf tells the story of a crime that happened on the river Main near Frankfurt. Investigators Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are back to investigate the crime, as the case progresses they find it taking them into a pit of evil and cruelty in the midst of a middle class utopia.

I am trying to make an effort to read more translated fiction; I loved Snow White Must Die which is book four in the series but only the first one to be translated into English. This is book six in the same series and I have to wonder why a publisher would publish books in such a weird order; this was a similar issue that happened with Jo Nesbø. I understand that a publisher would want to translate the novels that will sell the best but if Nele Neuhaus’ popularity continues to grow at this rate we will have another Nesbø situation.

Everything I loved about Snow White Must Die is absent in Big Bad Wolf; I think the problem is that Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are considered the main protagonists while Snow White Must Die focused more on the life of a man who served ten years for a crime he didn’t commit. That is what fascinated me but Big Bad Wolf is just another crime novel.

I’ve read so many great crime novels now that I find most of them clichéd and formulaic, Big Bad Wolf isn’t that bad but I’m looking for books that do something different and fresh with the genre. There are some decent moments in Big Bad Wolf, some unexpected twists but I wanted more. The novel is darker than most popular crime novels but keeps to the standard formula. One thing I did find difficult about this novel was the amount of view points, making it difficult at times to understand what was going on but this is an acceptable method for building suspense.

I highly recommend Snow White Must Die, if you haven’t tried some German translated crime before then this might be a good starting point. As for Big Bad Wolf, I’m disappointed with the end result but others might enjoy it more than I do. I hope Nele Neuhaus’ other novels are more like Snow White Must Die but I won’t be in a hurry to try her works again.


Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus

Posted March 28, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Crime / 0 Comments

Snow White Must Die by Nele NeuhausTitle: Snow White Must Die (Goodreads)
Author: Nele Neuhaus
Translator: Steven T. Murray
Series: Bodenstein & Kirchhoff #4
Published: Minotaur Books, 2013
Pages: 384
Genres: Crime
My Copy: Library Book

Buy: AmazonBook Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)

Skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony and lips as red as blood… Snow White Must Die is far from a fairy Tale. In a small German town, after serving 10 years for the murder of two 17 year old girls, Tobias Sartorius is released. The town is not happy with his return and when another pretty girl goes missing the suspicion obviously is put on him. As the police race to find the missing girl they start to discover things are not as black and white and maybe Tobias isn’t the killer they all thought he was.

Snow White Must Die is my first German crime novel and I was very impressed with the way this book played out. You start off with a suspicion and slowly through the complex twists you discover that this is just a huge web of lies. The book starts off with Tobias return and the whole town angry toward him, it reminded me a little of We Need to Talk about Kevin with the author exploring the psychology of trying to live in a town where everyone hates you.

Then you discover all the evidence that convicted Tobias was circumstantial and that’s when the questions start. I spent a lot of time trying to understand the motivations of each of the characters, always suspecting they are hiding something. Nele Neuhaus plays with the reader really well, always hinting but never showing her hand too early. The complexity of this case grows but Neuhaus beautifully handles it all without going overboard.

I love the way Nele Neuhaus starts off the story with Tobias as the lead and then when things start getting more centred around the crime it shifts focus toward the detectives working the case. I think this was masterfully done and left it open to kill off lead characters if she wished without throwing the story out. As the corruption and the conspiracy within this town begins to be uncovered, no one is safe and this leaves the reader with an anxiety when they put the book down.

I don’t remember the last time I’ve read a police procedural that I’ve enjoyed this much, I’ve noticed this is book four in a series but it reads like a standalone book. I really hope they translate more of Nele Neuhaus novels because I’m really impressed with her style and would love the chance to enjoy more of her books.

Snow White Must Die is a well crafted thriller that while brutal and violent, it still remains accessible. I would have liked this book to be a little darker but it was still a brilliant book of lies, greed and corruption. I would love to read some more German novels, crime ones in particular if anyone has some good recommendations. Nele Neuhaus showed real skill when she wrote Snow White Must Die and it was a real pleasure to experience it. I wish I could read German to enjoy this book in its original text.


Monthly Review – February 2013

Posted February 28, 2013 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Monthly Reading / 0 Comments

It’s so great to see just how well the reading challenge is going; over 500 books have been read from the group so far. I’m so happy with the response and pleased to see people still had time to read The Fault in our Stars. Plenty of interesting thoughts have come out of this book from the group and while there was some people that didn’t like the book, I’m so glad to see so much great constructive criticism in the threads; this is what we live for. For those who don’t know about the reading challenge, there is still time to join in the fun, so check out my introductory post here.

I’m really impressed with the book club’s efforts this year and as we move into March, I’m looking forward to seeing what people will say about Lolita for our Russian literature theme. In January, I managed to read twenty books but this month I’ve read fifteen, which is not a bad effort and still a number I can be proud of. Five of those books go towards the Literary Exploration Reading Challenge and you can find my own record of the challenge here.

Highlights this month include the epic cyber punk noir novel Altered Carbon and the recently translated German crime blockbuster Snow White Must Die. Also I got to read a modern masterpiece by an author that is quickly become a favourite of mine; Jeffery Eugenides. The Virgin Suicides was his debut novel and it was wonderfully bleak; I can’t recommend it enough. How was February for you and your reading life? Let me know in the comments below.

Monthly Reading

  • Altered Carbon by Richard K. Morgan
  • Casino Royale by Ian Fleming
  • Dirt by David Vann
  • Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
  • Gun Machine by Warren Ellis
  • Heart-Shaped Bruise by Tanya Byrne
  • March Violets by Philip Kerr
  • Occupation Diaries by Raja Shehadeh
  • One for the Books by Joe Queenan
  • Seating Arrangements by Maggie Shipstead
  • Snow White Must Die by Nele Neuhaus
  • The Lions of Al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay
  • The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • Young Philby by Robert Littell
  • Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler