River Clyde (A Chastity Riley Novel) by Simone Buchholz – Blog Tour

Thanks to Ann Cater of Random Things Tours for organising this blog tour and to Simone Buchholz and Orenda Books for a copy of this book in exchange for a honest and unbiased review.

Synopsis

Mired in grief after tragic recent events, State prosecutor Chastity Riley escapes to Scotland, lured to the birthplace of her great-great grandfather by a mysterious letter suggesting she has inherited a house.
In Glasgow, she meets Tom, the ex-lover of Chastity’s great aunt, who holds the keys to her own family secrets – painful stories of unexpected cruelty and loss that she’s never dared to confront.
In Hamburg, Stepanovic and Calabretta investigate a major arson attack, while a group of property investors kicks off an explosion of violence that threatens everyone.
As events in these two countries collide, Chastity prepares to face the inevitable, battling the ghosts of her past and the lost souls that could be her future and, perhaps, finally finding redemption for them all.
Nail-bitingly tense and breathtakingly emotive, River Clyde is both an electrifying thriller and a poignant, powerful story of damage and hope, and one woman’s fight for survival.

My thoughts

River Clyde is another instalment of the Chastity Riley series although unlike the others it doesn’t work as well as a stand-alone.  The whole series does not necessarily need to be read in order however I’d recommend you at least read the previous book to this, ‘Hotel Cartagena’ as river Clyde is heavily influenced by the events of that novel.   

Wow!  I have become accustomed to Simone Buchholz’s trademark writing style and punchy, to the point story telling and her voice as a writer is still very recognisable in River Clyde however there’s a shift in mood, genre and narrative which completely and unexpectedly knocked me sideways – in the best way possible.  It was such a surprise!

After the events of Hotel Cartagena, the whole team are struggling to put themselves back together and after a mysterious letter arrives, Riley finds herself on a plane to Glasgow to follow the contents of the letter and suddenly we are in a whole new city.  I have never been to Glasgow and what I loved about this was I felt as though I was experiencing it through Riley’s eyes in the same way she did.  She wasn’t necessarily drawn to the touristy, pretty spots but explored in such an interesting manner.  Buchholz uses so much personification to describe Glasgow (and also the places in the introduction of the book) and it really drew me in. In this novel River Clyde is as much of a character as anyone else.  I also felt as though discovering Glasgow was a stark contrast with the streets of Hamburg that always feel grittier and darker is a clever way of potentially starting a new chapter in Riley’s life or taking the series in a different direction.  Only time will tell!

Usually a Riley novel is packed full of action, starting with something shocking on the very first pages.  This novel has a more gentle and human beginning – focussed on Chastity, her current state of being and her struggles.  I think this completely sets the tone for the novel where the primary plotline is focussed on Chastity and her character development.

There is of course a secondary plot taking place in Hamburg and involving a crime.  Familiar faces join us here and it was good to see them all working together again but heart-breaking to witness the damage done by previous events.  This plot adds a little ‘noir’ to the story however the whole book branches out into other genres too.

It’s a testament to Buchholz’s writing talents that she can switch writing styles mid series but keep her trademarks as well as showing off a softer, more lyrical and gentle side to her talents too.  Very clever and a very intelligent way to show contrast.

As always, Rachel Ward has done a fantastic job translating but keeping the feel of the book and the unique writing style so well.

This whole series is a must for crime fans!      

Author Bio – Simone Buchholz

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. The critically acclaimed Beton Rouge, Mexico Street and Hotel Cartagena all followed in the Chastity Riley series, with River Clyde out in 2022.

She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

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