I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz
Published by Orenda Books on March 5, 2020
Genres: Fiction, Mystery & Detective, International Mystery & Crime
Format: ARC, eBook
Buy on Amazon
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.
Mexico Street, where the atmosphere is buzzing and the air is smoking, quite literally! It reminds me of a slogan that should be on the city’s signs. The title hides the depravity and the greed that is Hamburg’s underbelly. It’s a novel that packs a seriously kilter throwing punch. Gangster families. Strong women. Forbidden love. it investigates the complexities of whether good truly dominates over evil or whether that is just a fabricated construct to give us hope. Be prepared to freshen up those pearly whites because this is a novel with bite!
We open with a bang or more accurately a scorch. There’s a car on fire in Mexico Street. There’s a man still in it, threatening to be burned alive. The fire brigade arrives, the man is taken to hospital with smoke inhalation. It said he comes from the crime family, Saroukhan from Bremen. His death is neither a shock nor does it unsettle them, he has been dead to them for several years. Just how bad does it need to be for an entire family to disown their son? Their reaction and the lives this family leads had me entirely curious about the sanctity of family in their eyes. We are immediately catapulted into the brutality and the mistreatment of the woman. If we can say a woman is the nurturer in a family, then the men of this story are the destructors.
The ones trying to decode this crime are an elite team. We have our unlikely heroine, Chastity Riley, the state prosecutor. She can throw punches like the big boys and break barriers with her iron will. She’s flawed just like the rest of us. Cracking complicated crimes seem like a piece of cake to her but relationships seem unattainable, shrouded in smoke, not quite trusting herself to let go and be herself. She was a galaxy away from what I expected going into this book, but she was so imperfectly perfect she was a character I was straight behind, ready to take any insight she felt confident giving out. Somethings don’t add up in her initial estimations. Who was the redhead woman they saw running away from the scene of the crime, an innocent bystander or the culprit? *Enter twilight show theme music*
Simone Buchholz is an entirely new author for me and wow I was equal parts amazed and perplexed not only by her ability to weave a raw and gritty crime narrative but her writing is tack sharp with large doses of tension thrown into the mix with a threatening shadow that creeps into every aspect of the investigation. It’s dark, it’s dangerous and it will delight all crime fans. This is a complicated story of family and the saying especially rings true in this tale – “you can’t pick your family.”
Mexico Street is highly compelling and brought me straight upright and reminded why I love crime fiction. It brought us a wealth of details and sucked me into a black hole of twisty thriller-ness!!
Thank you to Anne Cater @ Random Things tours for my spot on the blog tour. Big Thanks also to Rachel Ward on the translation without whom, i would never have read this absolute gem!
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 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. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.