Tuesday 30 April 2024

The Kitchen by Simone Buchholz BLOG TOUR #TheKitchen @ohneKlippo @OrendaBooks t. @FwdTranslations #ChastityReloaded


When neatly packed male body parts wash up by the River Elbe, Hamburg State Prosecutor Chastity Riley and her colleagues begin a perplexing investigation.

As the murdered men are identified, it becomes clear that they all had a history of abuse towards women, leading Riley to wonder if it would actually be in society’s best interests to catch the killers.

But when her best friend Carla is attacked, and the police show little interest in tracking down the offenders, Chastity takes matters into her own hands. As a link between the two cases emerges, horrifying revelations threaten Chastity’s own moral compass, and put everything at risk…

The Kitchen by Simone Buchholz was published on 11 April 2024 by Orenda Books and is translated by Rachel Ward. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour. 

The Kitchen is the second in the Chastity Reloaded series, although not the second in the entire series of Chastity Riley books. In her last book; The Acapulco (published 2023), Simone Buchholz took her readers back to the days when Chastity Riley was fairly new in her role as State Prosecutor in Hamburg, Germany. The Kitchen follows The Acapulco, and whilst yes, this is a series, this book is also a fabulous novel that can be read as a stand alone story. 

So, explanations of context out of the way .... what about The Kitchen?

Oh my goodness, it is just so good to welcome Chastity Riley back into my life. She is one of the greatest creations that I've ever come across. A strong, independent woman, living and working in what is predominantly a man's world, but holding her own for sure. She's flawed, of course, but she's loyal and honest and determined to make the world a better place. 

It's the height of summer in Hamburg and the temperatures are rising daily. Almost unheard of heat envelops the city, bringing out the drinkers on street corners, making people lethargic and angry. It's not a nice heat and doesn't show Hamburg at its best. 

Chastity is finishing off the paperwork for the last case she worked on. A case that affected her deeply, more young women traumatised and exploited by men, she gets very angry. When male body parts are found in the city, neatly packaged up, Chastity can't quite find the anger that she had for the last case.  When another body is found and the link between these men seems to be that they all have a history of violence towards women, it's even harder for her.  However, she's a professional and she and her team are determined to get to the bottom of what is going on. 

Interwoven between chapters, there's a narrative from an unknown source. This narrative is frightening and anger inducing, a whole sorry tale of the experiences of a woman at the hands of men. Not always overly violence, but intrusive, unwelcome and intimidating. The narrator is angry. 

This is a truly brilliant piece of writing. It's a short novel that packs such a punch. Simone Buchholz writes with a passion and insight that makes the skin creep at times. It is wonderfully translated from German by Rachel Ward, and thank goodness, for I'd hate to think that I would miss out on this exceptional series. 

Very dark at times, with a clear message and packed with colourful, complex, often disturbed characters. I realised just what was happening a couple of minutes before Chastity did, and it is horrifying, yet the action that Chastity takes when she solves the case is unexpected, but extremely satisfying. 

Another perfectly formed novel in the Chastity Riley series. 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 Krimi ZEIT Best of Crime List for months. 
The critically acclaimed Beton Rouge, Mexico Street, Hotel Cartagena and River Clyde all followed in the Chastity Riley series. 
Hotel Cartagena won the CWA Crime in Translation Dagger in 2022. 
The Acapulco (2023) marked the beginning of the Chastity Reloaded series, with The Kitchen out in 2024. 
She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Rachel Ward is a freelance translator of literary and creative texts from German and
French to English. 
Having always been an avid reader and enjoyed word games and puzzles, she discovered a flair for languages at school and went on to study modern languages at the University of East Anglia. 
She spent the third year working as a language assistant at two grammar schools in Saaebrücken, Germany. 
During her final year, she realised that she wanted to put these skills and passions to use professionally and applied for UEA’s MA in Literary Translation, which she completed in 2002. 
Her published translations include Traitor by Gudrun Pausewang and Red Rage by Brigitte Blobel, and she is a Member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.

Follow Rachel on Twitter @FwdTranslations, and on her website www.forwardtranslations.co.uk

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