My excitement was HUGE when I came across one of Nele Neuhaus’ books in a tiny hidden-away second hand bookstore on Gili Trawangen, and my normally scroogy self didn’t hesitate when asked to part with three times more money for the well-thumbed novel than I would have spent for food for the whole day. With what my husband called disproportionate enthusiasm (“but as long as it keeps you happy”) I threw myself into the story. There is nothing better than getting your hands on a really good book, except getting your hands on a really good book whilst you are on holidays and not hampered by work or other commitments to fully commit to a massive read-a-thon (apart from the odd swim or food break). Plus, discovering a new favourite author who has written a whole crime series opens the door to a lot of future reading pleasure. After stumbling across S. J. Bolton’s novels earlier this year, Nele Neuhaus is already my second author discovery for 2013, which added several must-reads to my tbr list – seeing that this was only January, I thought I am doing well!
So it was with some sadness that I turned the last page this morning, feeling as if I have lost a good companion which has kept me company through good times and hard, such as airport stopovers, even though its 500-odd page bulk nearly sent my backpack over the baggage limit.
Title: Wer Wind Sät
Author: Nele Neuhaus
Read: January 28 - February 02, 2013
Ein Nachtwächter stürzt zu Tode. Ein Grundstück im Taunus, das plötzlich zwei Millionen Euro wert ist, kostet einen alten Mann das Leben. Pia Kirchhoff und Oliver von Bodenstein ermitteln im Kreise von Verdächtigen, die alle vorgeblich für eine gute Sache kämpfen. Doch jeder von ihnen hat sein eigenes Motiv - nichts ist, wie es scheint. Bis die Lügengebäude einstürzen. Rachsucht und Gier offenbar werden. Liebe in Hass umschlägt und Menschen büßen müssen.
Wer Wind Säht is the 5th book in the Kirchhoff and von Bodenstein thriller series, and is currently only available in German and Korean (as far as I know). For once I am really grateful to be bilingual, and it makes up for the countless amount of times people have asked about my accent and whether I am South-African (the answer is no). Being familiar with the language also helped immensely with keeping track of the many names of characters in the book.
I won’t go too much into the storyline of Wer Wind Sät, since it is a complex thriller with many characters, but I will give away that it revolves around the apparently big business of alternative energy, borne out of climate change being the number one news item hogging the headlines in the 21st century. Neuhaus explores the bribery and corruption which may underlie the profit-making from alternative sources like wind energy, and that perhaps there is more (or less) to the climate change debate than the average person realises. In her usual style, the topic is packaged neatly into a complex, atmospheric and intelligent police procedural, which had me hooked until the very end. The personal stories of police detectives Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver von Bodenstein continue from where they left off in “Snow White Must Die” and alas, end with several “cliff-hangers” so that I now have to try to get my hands on the next book in the series!
What I like most about Neuhaus’ novels (apart from her writing style, which appeals to me greatly) is her ability to uncover the evil which lurks in ordinary people, living ordinary lives in ordinary towns – if the motivation is there. Whether it is money, revenge, power or self-protection, it implies that evil can live right amongst us, or even lurk within us, and be unleashed where you least expect it. Lulled into a false sense of security by descriptions of idyllic country life in the beautiful Taunus region, the reader is soon confronted with less palatable truths, escalating into nightmarish proportions. I was shocked to find one of the protagonists I felt drawn to was not who he / she appeared to be – how could I have been so blind? I became so involved in the story that it almost felt real, as if I had been there and seen it all. It is not often that an author can really pull this off, but Wer Wind Sät did it for me.
This is definitely and author I want to read a lot more of. Unfortunately Amazon doesn’t sell the kindle edition of the series in Australia, but after some intense and time-consuming internet searching I have managed to secure one second-hand paperback copy of Tiefe Wunden (#3) on ebay, as well as electronic versions of Mordsfreude (#2) and Böser Wolf (#6) from an ebook store. Seeing that each book is around 500 pages long, my next month of reading is taken care of. How exciting!
For more information about Nele Neuhaus and her books, visit her website.