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Book 178-179: Snow White Must Die and Never Go back.

Book 178: Snow White Must Die (Bodenstein and Kirchhoff #4 ).
Author: Nele Neuhaus, 2010. Translated from the German by Steven T. Murray, 2013.
Genre: Police Procedural. Euro Crime.
Other Details: Paperback. 480 pages.

Skin as white as snow, hair as black as ebony and lips as red as blood . . .But this is no fairy story... - cover teaser.

Eleven years before the novel opens two seventeen-year-old girls, Laura and Stefanie (who was nicknamed Snow White), disappeared without a trace from a village near Frankfurt. Stefanie’s boyfriend, Tobias Sartorius, was convicted in a trial based entirely on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to ten years in prison. Now he has returned home and wishes to clear his name despite the hostility he faces from the locals.

Soon after Detectives Pia Kirchoff and Oliver von Bodenstein are summoned to the scene of a dreadful accident in which a woman has fallen from a bridge onto the motorway below causing a multi-car pile-up. There is a witness who reports that she had been pushed. When the identity of the woman is revealed as the mother of Tobias Sartorius they begin to look into the old case and encounter a wall of silence. Then another young woman goes missing and it seems that the past is repeating itself. The investigation becomes a race against time as the villagers appear to have no doubt as to who is responsible and are determined to take the matter into their own hands.

I was deeply impressed by this superb German police procedural with its interesting characters and complex, intelligent plot. This is the fourth book in the series but the first to be translated into English and so the backgrounds of the main characters, Pia Kirchoff and Oliver von Bodenstein, were sketched lightly. I can hardly wait for more to be translated into English. The next in the series is due in January 2014 and I do hope that the earlier books will follow in due course.

Book 179: Never Go Back (Jack Reacher #18 ).
Author: Lee Child, 2013.
Genre: Action. Thriller.
Other Details: Hardback. 416 pages.

The latest in this popular series of action thrillers sees Jack Reacher finally reaching Virginia. Apparently back in Book #14 (61 Hours) he'd been intrigued by the voice of Major Susan Turner, the new CO of his old unit, the 110th MP, and for the last few novels he's been making his way across country in order to meet with her. However, when he arrives at the base he discovers another officer is in charge and learns that Major Turner has been arrested and has issued instructions that Reacher is not to be allowed to visit her. In addition, Reacher is promptly arrested in relation to a 16-year old incident and his retired status is revoked so he's officially back in the Army. He has to take extreme measures to sort all this out.

This past Sunday I wasn't feeling well and wanted some escapist fiction. This proved the perfect choice providing me with an intriguing military mystery and the kind of action that Lee Child excels at. I did find that Jack Reacher was more restrained here than in the other books in the series that I have read; probably because he was dealing with military folk rather than the usual small town baddies who clearly deserve his brand of rough justice.
Tags: crime fiction, military, police drama, thriller, translation
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