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On a hot June day the body of a sixteen-year-old girl washes up on a river bank outside of Frankfurt. She has been brutally murdered, but no one comes forward with any information as to her identity. Even weeks later, the local police have not been able to find out who she is. Then a new case comes in: A popular TV reporter is attacked, raped, and locked in the trunk of her own car. She survives, barely, and is able to supply certain hints to the police, having to do with her recent investigations into a child welfare organization and the potenial uncovering of a child pornography ring with members from the highest echelon of society. As the two cases collide, Inspectors Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein dig deep into the past and underneath the veneer of bourgeois society to come up against a terrible secret that is about to impact their personal lives as well.
I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Review by Travis Starnes
Bad Wolfis the 6th book in the Bodenstein & Kirchoff series although it is published as the second story in the US. It follows two inspectors as they investigate two seemingly unconnected crimes, a murdered 16 year old and a kidnapped TV reporter. As they begin to connect the two events the inspectors head down a trail that will take them into the highest echelons of society.
I had a little trouble getting into this book. While it is a pretty straight forward detective style mystery I just had too many problems connecting with the characters. The one thing that really stood out to me is the similarities this has to mystery books that were created in Sweden. I know this is the authors 2nd US release and previously Nehaus was mostly a European writer but other than that I am not familiar with her origin, so my connection between her and Swedish fiction is strictly based on the tone and style of the book. The problem is I have never been a big fan of that style of writing and this holds true here.
That isn’t to say the book is outright bad. The story moves along at a pretty good clip and, especially in the sections dealing with the kids, is fairly moving. It should be noted that this book does not pull many punches. It can be a little brutal at times and is not for those who like more sterilized mysteries.
Other than the tone that the book was written in my other problem is the personal stories between the characters seem a little confused. If I had to guess I would chalk this up to the publisher’s decisions to translate and release the books out of order. While the mysteries are indeed standalone this type of series the connective threads are in the characters personal interactions. So the mystery itself is pretty straight forward but you can’t help but feel something is ever so slightly off with the way everything plays out, sort of like when you miss a few minutes of the setup of a movie.
This isn’t a terrible book but neither is it amazing. If it was judged only on the primary mystery itself it would be better than average but that unfortunately isn’t possible. Taken as a whole this is a fairly mediocre novel.