Thursday, January 3, 2013

Review: SNOW WHITE MUST DIE by Nele Neuhaus

Snow White Must DieSNOW WHITE MUST DIE is a German crime novel full of complex twists and tangled webs of lies. An eleven year murder resurfaces when the convicted killer is released back into the small town community and a 17yr old goes missing. However, something much more harrowing and sinister is unearthed as Detective Inspector Pia Kirchhoff digs deep into the investigation eleven years earlier and discovers holes in the prosecution. Revisiting the case yields new information and the discovery of a deep seeded plan of corruption and corroboration by townsfolk in high positions directly relating to the murders of Laura and Stefanie. While Bondenstien, Pia’s boss investigates crimes of the present day targeted against Tobias and his family.

It’s easily apparent that the two lead detectives have featured in previous books (which I believe have not yet been translated to English) yet Neuhaus writes them so well that their respective back-stories are explained through a drip feed of information throughout the course of the novel meaning the pre-reads aren’t a necessity. While the plot drives SNOW WHITE MUST DIE, it’s the well rounded and beautifully crafted characters that really engross the reader. I was surprised to find myself sympathising with the originally touted killer of Snow White, the convicted Tobias and his family (with whom suffered unjustly for crimes they weren’t privy) and rode the bumpy personal rollercoaster of Bodenstein’s domestic situation and Pia’s struggle to maintain her home despite a rather unfair land ownership mishap.

SNOW WHITE MUST DIE contains jaw dropping scenes of cruelty inflicted upon the unjust by perpetrators fuelled by their murderous convictions. The constant shift and change of direction makes it hard to pinpoint who is on the right side of the law. Neuhaus slides her characters around a proverbial chest board to craft this deeply engrossing crime fiction. No one is who they seem to be and I had a great time trying to guess the outcome.

I hope more of the German books in this series get translated as not only would they compliment SNOW WHITE MUST DIE (the 4th book in the series – though it reads well as a standalone) but it would also bring new meaning to some of the minor character interactions, notably those within the police force itself.

This is one of those books you can’t help but read. When I wasn’t reading it, I was thinking about it, and when I was reading it I didn’t want it to end. Few police procedurals have drawn me in like SNOW WHITE MUST DIE. I highly recommend it – 5 stars.

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