On a September evening eleven years ago, two 17-year-old girls vanished without a trace from the tiny village of Altenhain, just outside Frankfurt. In a trial based on circumstantial evidence 20-year-old Tobias Sartorius was convicted and imprisoned for the murder of his childhood friend Laura and his beautiful girlfriend Stefanie – otherwise known as Snow White.
After serving his sentence, Tobias returns home. His presence in the little German village stirs up the events of the past. Events that the locals would prefer to remain hidden. When the Sartorius family is subjected to a number of attacks, Detective Inspector Pia Kirchhoff and DS Oliver von Bodenstein are tasked with monitoring the tense atmosphere in the tight-knit community. As the village inhabitants close ranks it becomes apparent the disappearance of Snow White and her friend was far more complex than imagined.
Then history starts to repeat itself in a disastrous manner when another pretty girl goes missing. The police are thrown into a race against time. Will they be able to save her, or is she destined to die?
I was first introduced to Nele Neuhaus as part of my crime fiction week earlier this year when I was also sent a copy of Snow White Must Die, her first book to be published here in the UK, which I've finally managed to find the time to read.
Tobias Sartorius has spent the last 10 years in prison for a crime he's always insisted that he did not commit, the murder of his girlfriend Stefanie, otherwise known as Snow White, and her friend Laura despite their bodies never having been found.
But now he's been let out for good behaviour but the local villagers are not happy to see him and a campaign of intimidation and violence soon starts with the aim to try and force him to leave.
And when another local teenager Amelie disappears, it's thought that history is about to repeat itself especially as once again Tobias cannot remember where he was on the evening that she went missing just like before.
It's up to Detective Pia Kirchhoff to try and find Amelie before it's too late but she soon discovers some things from the original investigation that don't make sense, could the wrong man have been convicted after all?
With a large cast of characters you do have to concentrate quite a bit to follow who's connected to who and what was going on but this is just a minor niggle in an otherwise excellent read. Snow White Must Die is an excellent introduction to this new author and I'll definitely be looking to read more of her books in the future when they are translated into English.
I'd like to thank Sophie at Pan Macmillan for sending me a copy of this book to review. Amazon links: Trade Paperback, Kindle or pre-order Paperback (published 29th August)