Friday 26 March 2021

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz BLOG TOUR #HotelCartagena @ohneKlippo T. Rachel Ward @FWDTranslations @OrendaBooks #HotelCartegena #ChastityRiley


Twenty floors above the shimmering lights of the Hamburg docks, Public Prosecutor Chastity Riley is celebrating a birthday with friends in a hotel bar when twelve heavily armed men pull out guns, and take everyone hostage. Among the hostages is Konrad Hoogsmart, the hotel owner, who is being targeted by a young man whose life and family have been destroyed by Hoogsmart's actions.

With the police looking on from outside their colleagues' lives at stake and Chastity on the inside, increasingly ill from an unexpected case of sepsis, the stage is set for a dramatic confrontation and a devastating outcome for the team all live streamed in a terrifying bid for revenge.

Crackling with energy and populated by a cast of unforgettable characters, Hotel Cartagena is a searing, relevant thriller that will leave you breathless.

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz is the latest in the Chastity Riley series and was published in paperback by Orenda Books on 4 March 2021.
Hotel Cartagena was translated from the German by Rachel Ward. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour.

It is a whole year since we last met Chastity Riley, when Hamburg was on fire in the last novel, Mexico Street. It is always great to meet up with Riley again, Simone Buchholz has created one of my all-time favourite female characters. We see so many sides to this feisty, brave, outspoken woman. This series is an utter joy to read.

The author takes her readers on a different journey in Hotel Cartagena, whilst the plotting is clever and wonderfully structured, this is more of a look at Chastity's inner thoughts. With very little dialogue for the main part, we are treated to her observations, of what is happening and of those involved.

Chastity and her police colleagues are celebrating a birthday in the bar of Hotel Cartagena. Twenty stories up, this is a bar where the beautiful people usually congregate as they socialise whilst looking out onto the Hamburg harbour. What begins as a regular celebration, albeit somewhat awkward for Chastity, as she has quite intimate knowledge of more than one of her companions, soon turns into a night of terror. Twelve armed, masked men burst into the bar, and suddenly there's a hostage situation. 

Buchholz cleverly interweaves the back story of the hostage takers, with flash backs to the life of a man who has experienced nothing but pain and trouble in his relatively short life. As the reader learns more about the motives for the situation, our loyalties begin to shift. Same for Chastity, she cannot help but be a little attracted to the number one hostage taker, and her contempt for their main target is quite obvious. 

This is a relatively short novel that packs a massive punch. Along with the tension of the hostage situation, there's some dry and quite fabulous humour, and as Chastity's own discomfort rises, so does that of the reader. It's really really clever stuff this. It is utterly compelling throughout. 

Once again Simone Buchholz, ably assisted by the excellent translation from Rachel Ward puts on quite a performance. This is a top-notch, supremely plotted thriller with characters who leap from the page. This starts with a steady pace, with some long and descriptive musings from Chastity and then becomes faster and faster until the prose is staccato, and so sharp that my heart was pounding. 

Addictive, extremely hard to put down. Another fabulous chapter in what has become a favourite series of mine. Highly recommended. 

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 in 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.

Twitter @ohneKlippo


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