Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz! My thanks to Anne Cater for the invitation to join! Today, I have an extract to share with you from this next instalment in the Chastity Riley series, but first, here is what the book is all about.
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of the biggest German newspapers. Closer inspection shows he is a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in similar circumstances.
Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect … to the dubious past shared by both victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the elite world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.
| EXTRACT |
DOG EAT DOG WORLD
The rain creates walls in the night. Falling from the sky, they are like mirrors, reflecting and warping the blue light from the police car. Everything spins.
The street emerges from the darkness and loses itself between the harbour lights, and there – right in the middle, just where it suddenly drops downhill – is where it happened: a cyclist.
She’s lying, twisted, on the asphalt, her strawberry-blonde hair forming a delicate pool around her head. Her pale dress is awash with blood; the blood seems to be flowing from her side, staining the concrete red. There’s a black shoe – some kind of ballet flat – on her right foot and no skin at all on her left. The bike’s lying a few feet away on a grass verge, as if it’s been ditched.
The woman isn’t moving; only her ribcage twitches desperately, as if to rise and fall, but then it doesn’t move at all. Her body is trying to take in air from somewhere.
Two paramedics are leaning over and talking to her, but it doesn’t look as though they’re getting through. It doesn’t look as though anything’s getting through any more. Death is about to give her a ride.
Two police officers are cordoning off the accident site, shadows dancing on their faces. Now and then, a car comes past and drives slowly around her. The people in the cars don’t want to look too closely.
The paramedics do things to their paramedic cases; then they close them, stand up. That must be it, then.
So, thinks God, looking industrious, that’s that. He picks up his well-chewed pencil, crosses the cyclist off , and wonders whose life he could play football with next.
I think: I’m not on duty. I’m just on my way to the nearest pub.
But as I’m here.
‘Hello,’ I say.
What else was I supposed to say?
‘Move along, please,’ says the more solid of the two policemen. He’s pulled his cap right down over his face; raindrops are glittering on his black moustache. The other has his back to me and is on his phone.
‘I certainly can,’ I say, ‘or I can stay and take care of a few things.’ I hold out my hand. ‘Chastity Riley, public prosecutor.’
He takes my hand but doesn’t shake it. I feel as though he’s holding it. Because that’s what you do at times like this, when someone’s just died – because a tiny bit of all of us dies along with them and so everything’s a bit shaky. The big policeman and I seem suddenly involved in a relationship of mutual uncertainty.
‘Dirk Kammann,’ he says. ‘Davidwache Station. My colleague’s on the phone to our CID.’
‘OK,’ I say.
‘OK,’ he says, letting go of my hand.
‘Hit-and-run?’ I ask.
‘Looks like it. She hardly drove over her own belly.’
I nod, he nods; we stop talking but stand side by side a while longer.
When the dark-blue saloon draws up with the CID guys from the Davidwache, I say goodbye and go, but I look back round before turning the corner. There’s a grey veil over the brightly lit scene, and it’s not the rain; for once it’s not even the persistent rain that falls in my head. This isn’t my personal charcoal grey; it’s a universal one.
I call Klatsche and tell him that there’s nothing doing tonight. That I don’t feel like the pub.
Then I go home, sit by the window and stare into the night.
The moon looks like it feels sick.
If this extract has left you wanting more, you can grab yourself a copy of the ebook right now. The UK paperback is set to be published on February 21st.
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
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, and second place 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.