‘The German #1 bestseller from the ‘Queen of Krimi’
– Hotel Cartagena
[ About the Book ]
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.
[ My Review ]
Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz was published March 4th with Orenda Books. The latest novel in the Chastity Riley series, it is described as ‘searing, breathtakingly original, and unexpectedly moving‘. Translated by Rachel Ward, Hotel Cartagena, takes the reader on a rather surreal adventure from Hamburg to Columbia and to the Caribbean island of Curaçao.
Tenacious and hard-speaking Public Prosecutor Chastity Reilly is out socially with friends celebrating a birthday. A mixed bag, they all have a story to tell and have varied relationships with Chastity. A very unexpected turn of events results in a hostage-taking situation which includes Chastity and all her friends. With very few others in the hotel bar in question, the attention eventually turns to one well-dressed man, the hotel owner, Konrad Hoogsmart. This is a very personal vengeance situation between one of the hostage-takers and Hoogsmart but why? What did Hoogsmart do to anger this man, this person who is focussed on one thing only and that is to make Hoogsmart pay.
Buchholz takes the reader back to 1984 when a young man, frustrated with his life in Germany, boards a ship and sails to Columbia. He arrives to the port town of Cartagena and, with hard work, he builds a reputation for himself, soon falling onto the radar of a drug faction. He is loyal and his ability to get the job in hand done is noted. Soon he becomes indispensable, but never safe. After much success in his chosen business an unfortunate incident occurs resulting with him packing up his family and his life and disappearing to Curaçao. Here he hoped to live an anonymous life in a relatively safe environment with his family. But one cannot escape one’s past, as he eventually finds out with tragic consequences. Now he is back in Germany with only one thing on his mind, revenge.
With short, snappy and cleverly entitled chapters, Hotel Cartagena is a tale of two stories. We have the story of a young man with a dream whose life took some very fateful turns and we have the modern-day tale of a hostage crisis, with our leading lady Chastity Reilly right in the thick of it. I really enjoyed the story of this young man from the back streets of St Pauli, Hamburg and his rise through a drug-funded lifestyle in Cartagena to his subsequent downfall in Curaçao. But on returning to the bar with Chastity Reilly and her friends my reaction was mixed. Chastity contracts sepsis while in the bar resulting in her state of mind being quite erratic and dreamlike with meandering thoughts that left me quite confused when I turned the final page. The translation is incredible capturing the staccato nature of Chastity’s thoughts and the disjointed text that reads almost like a poem. The style of writing is unorthodox and definitely requires a different approach when reading. Hard-boiled noir with a distinctly modern German twist, Hotel Cartagena is an experience, an, at times, almost psychedelic trip inside the head of Chastity Reilly. An interesting and very original read!
[ Bio ]
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. The next in the Chastity Riley series, Beton Rouge, won the Radio Bremen Crime Fiction Award and Best Economic Crime Novel 2017. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.
Twitter – @ohneKlippo