Book Reviews

Chocolate’n’Orenda Round 1: Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz @ohneKlippo @OrendaBooks @FwdTranslations


Can you guess I am bursting with excitement?

Why, I hear you ask…

Because today, I am launching something exciting! For the duration of this summer, I will be featuring an Orenda Books novel each week! I have been a huge fan of this publisher for years now and I was lucky to learn a lot from Orenda Mama, so it’s a real pleasure to devote a day per week to fresh and original voices!


beton rouge
Title: Beton Rouge
Author: Simone Buchholz
Translator: Rachel Ward
Publisher: Orenda Books
Date of publication: Paperback 21 Feb 2018
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher

On a warm September morning, an unconscious man is found in a cage at the entrance to the offices of one of the biggest German newspapers. Closer inspection shows he is a manager of the company, and he’s been tortured. Three days later, another manager appears in a similar way.

Chastity Riley and her new colleague Ivo Stepanovic are tasked with uncovering the truth behind the attacks, an investigation that goes far beyond the revenge they first suspect … to the dubious past shared by both victims. Travelling to the south of Germany, they step into the hothouse world of boarding schools, where secrets are currency, and monsters are bred … monsters who will stop at nothing to protect themselves.

A smart, dark, probing thriller, full of all the hard-boiled poetry and acerbic wit of the very best noir, Beton Rouge is both a classic whodunit and a scintillating expose of society, by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.


Blue Night by Simone Buchholz was a revelation, therefore I was more than eager to meet Chastity Riley again! When an author makes such a great impression with the first book in a series, you can’t help but have the highest expectations for the next book…

Last year I went blue. Today I saw red. Look at this beautiful and electric cover! Orenda Books are known for their absolutely beautiful designs and this time again, the cover absolutely matches the content hidden behind (I swear I’m not saying this just because red is my favourite colour! :p)

Another very important point to mention before diving into the novel is the superb translation by Rachel Ward. I don’t speak German, but I can feel the author’s precise and unique style in the English version. While reading, it came to me that it felt as if I were reading through a magical mirror. Nothing is lost in translation. Congratulations Rachel on such great job!

Talking about style… Simone Buchholz writes crime like no other. Characters’ voices are clear as crystal, their words fly in the air. I can’t get enough of the stunningly real and authentic prose the author masters. Reading Simone’s work is like looking at the world from the bottom of a beer bottle, it’s fresh, it’s authentic, it gets to you with a strong witty taste.

Now, Beton Rouge. Short but punchy. A compelling quick read revealing itself to be the best stage for an amazing character-driven investigation. Chastity Riley is as sarcastic, down-to-earth, and phenomenal as ever. Surrounded by old and new characters, our lovely public prosecutor must deal with professional and personal cases, allowing the reader to delve deeper into her thoughts. Soaked in alcohol and humour, this second book is pure dark candy.

Two men, two cages, left outdoors after having suffered torture. Isn’t the premise thrilling? Through a rather straight investigation, Simone Buchholz tackles societal issues and drives her novel directly into the protagonists’ hearts. Far from chasing a random serial killer on the loose, things are personal and quickly, it’s time to wonder if the targets have any reason to have been chosen… Can events from the past excuse actions in the present? Could revenge be the motive behind such personal and public shaming? I simply adored swimming in this smoked-filled Hamburg (and taking a trip with Chastity!) for a greater sake than stopping a trail of dead bodies. In fact, you won’t find many murders around here, and that is so refreshing! It takes an amazing author to pack such brilliant scenes without cutting heads, haha!

Do you feel like travelling? Pick this witty, dark unconventional novel and settle in your favourite spot!

Get your copy on the Orenda e-store / Amazon / Kobo

about the author


Simone Buchholz was born in Hanau in 1972. At university, she studied Philosophy and Literature, worked as a waitress and a columnist, and trained to be a journalist at the prestigious Henri-Nannen-School in Hamburg. In 2016, Simone Buchholz was awarded the Crime Cologne Award as well as the second Place of the German Crime Fiction Prize for Blue Night, which was number one on the KrimiZEIT Best of Crime List for months. She lives in Sankt Pauli, in the heart of Hamburg, with her husband and son.

Note from me: If you get the chance to meet Simone, enjoy the moment! She’s a wonderful woman, and she has a great voice!


21 thoughts on “Chocolate’n’Orenda Round 1: Beton Rouge by Simone Buchholz @ohneKlippo @OrendaBooks @FwdTranslations”

      1. I start thinking of an answer and then I get distracted (with eh work) and 5 hours later the tab to your blog is still open but I can’t remember :-). I also never know which posts I shared on Twitter. Promising for later ;-). You should never be nervous again, you have this review writing down to a T and every single one is great! x


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