Hamburg state prosecutor Chastity Riley investigates a series of arson attacks on cars across the city, which leads her to a startling and life-threatening discovery involving criminal gangs and a very illicit love story…
Night after night, cars are set alight across the German city of Hamburg, with no obvious pattern, no explanation and no suspect.
Until, one night, on Mexico Street, a ghetto of high-rise blocks in the north of the city, a Fiat is torched. Only this car isn’t empty. The body of Nouri Saroukhan – prodigal son of the Bremen clan – is soon discovered, and the case becomes a homicide.
Public prosecutor Chastity Riley is handed the investigation, which takes her deep into a criminal underground that snakes beneath the whole of Germany. And as details of Nouri’s background, including an illicit relationship with the mysterious Aliza, emerge, it becomes clear that these are not random attacks, and there are more on the cards…
I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour today for Mexico Street, the third book in the Chastity Riley series by Simone Buchholz. My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things tours for inviting me to take part and to Karen Sullivan at Orenda Books for my copy of the book, which I have reviewed honestly and impartially.
So, following my review of the first two books in the Chastity Riley series (which you can find here), we are now on to the author’s latest novel and the third in the series, Mexico Street and I was wondering how she was going to keep the momentum going after the first two stunning books. Was there anywhere different to go, anything new to explore? The answer is, of course, yes.
The third book might even be my favourite so far. In this book, Chastity is drawn into an investigation that takes her to Bremen and a world away from what she knows and understands in Hamburg. A world dominated by tribal gangs with animosities and traditions going back generations, a societal hierarchy that is completely separate and unique, an attitude to family, and women in particular, which is archaic and unforgiving, and a section of the population that simply does not recognise the right of Germany’s legal system to police them and their affairs.
Again, the author switches her narrative approach to divide it between events in Chastity’s current life, the present investigation and the historic story of the victim of the crime which gives us the foundations of motive for what has occurred. I found the window that the author creates on to the community she is exploring in Bremen riveting – rich and detailed – and quite startling. It is an issue that is very current and relevant, as the strains in society between different communities is constantly under the spotlight and influencing decisions we make at the highest levels, and this book explores the idea that the strains are on both sides. There is a very stark question to be addressed here, what do you do when a community won’t integrate and simply refuses to submit to the local rules of law and society?
Well, this book explores this question, but doesn’t necessarily supply all the answers, and this is one of the unique factors of Simone’s writing and one of the things I love about it. The author is constantly posing conundrums and queries, both in the crime and in Chastity’s personal life, but doesn’t then supply an easy answer. She leaves work for the reader to do, for us personally to explore those questions and make our own judgements or possibly reach the conclusion, as maybe Chastity does, that there is no easy, obvious answer to be found. It is intelligent writing that assumes a pleasing and stimulating level of intelligence and curiosity in the reader, and there is nothing I love more than a book that challenges me.
Of course, Chastity’s personal life is not progressing smoothly either. She is missing Klatsche, her relationship with Ivo is complicated and, to top matters off, a face from the past makes a reappearance to muddy the waters. Chastity has some working out to do but, as a woman, she is a law unto herself and seems in no hurry to do it, I adore that about her. In this book, her personal relationships take somewhat of a back seat, she seems to be gaining some confidence again on her professional front, and I think the way the author switches the focus up between books to reflect how Chastity’s life and priorities and ebb and flow and change is inspired.
Another great addition to this series, possibly the best so far and, as for the ending well, what the hell just happened? A book that left me oddly satisfied, yet breathless and wanting more at the same time. Yes, more please.
Mexico Street is out now and you can buy a copy here.
Please do visit the rest of the fabulous blogs taking part in the tour for more great reviews and content:
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