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Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz

Article by Swirl and Thread ©.
Posted in | .

Mexico Street by Simone Buchholz is the latest in the critically acclaimed Chastity Riley series. Published with Orenda Books, it is described as ‘a smart, dark, probing, thriller, recalling the very best American noir’ Mexico Street is translated by Rachel Ward, who also previously translated Blue Night and Beton Rouge for Orenda Books.

Mexico Street is a modern-day tale of star-crossed lovers, gang warfare and murder. Chastity Riley is a state prosecutor in Hamburg and has been involved in an investigation of a series of arson attacks on cars. These burnouts are random, with no obvious connection to any gang. But on the night a torched Fiat car is discovered with a body inside, the investigation moves up a notch. Who was the victim? And why?

Chastity Riley sets the scene for the reader throughout with some great lines……

‘It’s as if the buildings are breaking over people. One, two, puke: big chunks, everyone dead. A couple of architects on speed wanted to play Tetris against each other, and then everything got out of hand. Brutal boulders in washed concrete and steel stand around the place; they were white once, in the sixties and seventies of the last century; they used to gleam, but now the light is peeling off in great flakes. There are cracks everywhere.’

There are very dark and unsettling incidents taking place behind closed doors. As Chastity Riley starts to delve further into this case she gets some shocking insights into clan warfare, family loyalty and how deep blood really flows.

With her colleague, Stepanovik, by her side, the two team up with other associates to uncover the real reasons behind the apparent murder of a young man, named locally as Nouri Saroukhan. Nouri’s backstory unveils the hatred and the heinous behaviour among family and among communities. Disowned by his family and living a life full of dreams and hopes for a future with the girl he loved, Nouri tried to break free. But something happened. Somebody murdered him? What did he know? Why Nouri?

‘At night, he lay awake and missed her. But he also missed her while he slept. He missed her with his eyes open and with them closed. although it was worse when they were closed, because then he saw her everywhere, in every face, at every second.’

When reading a Buchholz novel, the writing style, the personalities and the dynamic between the characters is as much of a draw as the story-line. Chastity Riley is quite the unknown, almost an enigma. She works hard, plays hard and is a woman with a reputation that precedes her. A kick-ass, no bull kinda girl, she gets work done and accepts few excuses for others behaviour. Quick-witted, snappy and sassy, Chastity Riley is a person who struggles with personal relationships. There is a sense of loneliness about her that adds an extra dimension to her. Littered with one-liners and with short, brilliantly titled, chapters, Mexico Street is a fast paced read that packs a punch.

If Philip Marlowe is your movie go to, then Chastity Riley might just be your fictional one!

‘They walk through the streets and take in every bar, and then they sit there and drink and look at each other as if they had something to catch up on but it wasn’t available anywhere anymore. Sometimes he holds her hand, sometimes she holds his.’

(c) Swirl and Thread

Order your copy online here.