I had so much fun reading parts of this that I almost feel bad giving it 3-stars. What I liked about it wasn’t necessarily what I was going for when I picked it up.
Germany isn’t one of the countries most well known in the States for European crime fiction. Italy, France, the UK are all heavyweights and even Spain and parts of Eastern Europe have made the rounds in recent years. But the Germans are not especially renowned here in this regard.
When I saw this book on a list of something like “interesting female protagonists in crime fiction” and noticed it was in Hamburg, a place I enjoyed visiting and the kind of gritty urban port space that would make for a great hardboiled setting, I knew I had to try it.
I loved the main character and the atmosphere. Those are two things that Simone Buchholz, who is celebrated in Germany for her work, gets very well. Chasity Riley was a fun person to hang with, unapologetic in her drinking and poorly considered love life. She was easy to root for. And Hamburg itself was an excellent place to tour for a crime story.
The story itself was…I don’t want to say lacking but it really failed to grip me. I cared more about Chas’ private life than I did what was going on. The flashbacks kind of confused me at first and I’m not sure they were entirely necessary. And it didn’t help that this was obviously translated by a Brit, as it had a lot of Brit-isms which felt out of place in a German crime novel.
But I’m glad I read it and I want to check out more of Buchholz’s books that have been translated into English. It was quick, funny, and mostly fun.