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...
I'd like to thank Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour and Orenda Books for my ecopy of Mexico Street to review.
Chastity Riley is back in the latest book by Simone Buchholz, translated into English by Rachel Ward, and what a case she has on her hands. There has been a spate of mindless vandalism by way of torching cars throughout the city but this time it looks like things have escalated as a young man has been found trapped in one of the cars. Who is he and what was the reason behind his gruesome death?
Once again Chastity pairs up with Detective Stepanovic from the Serious Crime Unit. They are the perfect team, the ying to the yang and really do balance each other out. Chastity might have a few flaws in her personal life, she drinks too much and exists on little or no sleep, but when it comes to her work life she is sharp minded and the ultimate professional and no stone is left unturned until she gets to the truth. It's not long before the young man's identify is confirmed as Nouri Saroukhan and his links to a notorious crime family in the city of Bremen, so what was he doing in Hamburg?
What follows is a dark, gritty tale that explores the immigrant and criminal underworld that was everyday life as a young boy for Nouri who dreamed of a better life for himself. One aspect of the plot that I did find particularly uncomfortable reading was the misogynistic way that the women were treated as second-class citizens, commodities to be used to barter with, by the men of the Mhllami tribe that Nouri's family were a part of.
By now I'm used to the quirky writing style of Simone Buchholz with her unusual headers and short, snappy chapters that seem a little disjointed at first but as with her previous book, before long I was caught up in the drama wanting to know every little detail about Nouri's past, what caused his estrangement and ultimately what led to his untimely death.
Mexico Street is one of those books that's hard to categorise as it's not just about the crime/thriller aspect of the storyline as we also explore the personal relationships of the characters as well.