Nele Neuhaus’ American debut with Snow White Must Die put the Bodenstein & Kirchhoff on my mystery radar.
For her next American release, American readers are treated to the sixth novel in the series, Bad Wolf. I’m not sure why the publisher chose to skip the fifth novel in the series, but I’m hoping they’ll eventually translate and publish the entire series for American readers. There are certain events in the personal lives of Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein that are delved into here, but I kept feeling like I’d missed some developments in the fifth book.
Luckily, a solid mystery and intriguing characters help make up for that feeling and put Neuhaus (once again) firmly on my “to be read” list for mystery writers.
When a young woman’s body washes up in a river, Kirchoff and Bodenstein are tasked with finding out who she is and the identity of her killer. Meanwhile, a local talk show host is pursuing a story that could put her back on the map when she’s attacked. There is also a young mother who has concerns about her daughter’s change in behavior while dealing with her husband’s infidelity and the impending arrival of her second child. Set during a heat wave in Germany, these three elements (and a few more) help keep tempers short and emotions just below the surface.
These (at first) disparate plot threads seem to have little or no connection. But as the story unfolds, Neuhaus ably weaves them together, all while ratcheting up the suspense and stakes. Bad Wolf kept my guessing about how the threads would fit together and just who exactly is the lead suspect in the case. And just when I thought I had it all figured out, Neuhaus managed to surprise me.
As I raved with Snow White Must Die, Neuhaus reminds me of one of my favorite authors, Elizabeth George. Bad Wolf reinforces this opinion and only makes me hope that the rest of the series will be translated and published soon. (And hopefully in the published order!)