BETON ROUGE | Simone Buchholz
(Chas Riley #2)
02.21.2019 | Orenda Books
Rating: 4/5 stars
An unconscious man has been found outside the offices of one of Germany’s biggest newspapers. He is locked inside of a cage, naked, and on display for all of those who walk by to see. Chas Riley and her new colleague, Ivo Stepanovic, are placed on the case and immediately discover this mystery man is one of the managers of the newspaper company he is caged outside. Three days later, the detectives receive a call informing them another man has appeared under similar circumstances. When it is revealed that he is also a manager with the first man, the group investigating the cases immediately believe these acts to be a form of revenge. Is it someone from the news agency or someone from their past?
Riley and Stepanovic will travel across Germany into the world of elite boarding schools on the hunt for answers. What they find is a tangled web of lies buried beneath wealth. No amount of money can keep monsters hidden forever.
Everybody has a connection to time don’t they? You understand what yesterday was, and if you’re lucky that means you know why things are the way they are today. Or you think about tomorrow being a new day, and then maybe your mind fills up with the things to do then.
Simone Buchholz is back again with another installment in her Chas Riley series. This time we find our well-loved protagonist, Riley, working with an entirely different crew on a new case. While she works alongside different detectives, we are still treated to familiar faces in the form of those who take up Riley’s personal life. The dichotomy between Riley’s personal and professional lives is perfectly balanced, with enough insight into both to allow a strong connection to our main character, while not taking away from the exciting case at hand. Yet again, Buchholz had me loving Riley’s honest and often blunt personality. With this second installment we are certainly treated to more of what makes her tick.
A book with such a well-developed main character needs a case that allows them to truly shine, while engaging the reader in the hunt for answers. This is exactly what Buchholz delivers in BETON ROUGE. I can say easily enough I’ve never read about men trapped naked in cages and left for public displays. Instantly the imagery of these instances captures the reader’s attention. What sort of monster would do this to someone? What sort of monster do you have to be to have someone want to do this to you? These are the questions that Riley and Stepanovic must answer in order to get to the root of these attacks. Their investigation into the lives of the caged men gives you not only answers, but an even more interesting story that their capture and imprisonment.
I think it’s like this: everyone wants to mean something to someone. If someone doesn’t feel that – doesn’t have this sense of a meaning to his life – he starts doing bad things. Or enduring them. Depending on personality.
Buchholz writes with such a quick pace, lent to with the aid of short chapters, that a reader will get lost within the story of BETON ROUGE easily. I found myself not looking up until the first 50 pages had passed, completely unaware of how much time had passed. I’m a huge fan of short chapters and think when they are done right, they instantly set the pace of the book, which is exactly what happened for me here. Buchholz also has a unique way of drawing the reader to keep reading by giving each chapter a unique title. Each title is actually taken from the contents of the chapters, which means only one thing…you must keep reading!
Disclosure: Thank you to Orenda Books for sending me a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!
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