The Ice Queen
Series: Bodenstein & Kirchhoff #3
Author: Nele Neuhaus
Published: January 13, 2015
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
The body of 92-year-old Jossi Goldberg, Holocaust survivor and American citizen, is found shot to death execution style in his house near Frankfurt. A five-digit number is scrawled in blood at the murder scene. The autopsy reveals an old and unsuccessfully covered tattoo on the corpse’s arm—a blood type marker once used by Hitler’s SS. Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver Bodenstein are faced with a riddle. Was the old man not Jewish after all? Who was he, really? Two more, similar murders happen—one of a wheelchair-bound old lady in a nursing home, and one of a man with a cellar filled with Nazi paraphernalia—and slowly the connections between the victims becomes evident: All of them were lifelong friends with Vera von Kaltensee, baroness, well-respected philanthropist, and head of an old, rich family that she rules with an iron fist. Pia and Oliver follow the trail, which leads them all the way back to the end of World War II and the area of Poland that then belonged to East Prussia. No one is who they claim to be, and things only begin to make sense when the two investigators realize what the bloody number stands for, and uncover an old diary and an eyewitness who is finally willing to come forward.
Nele Neuhaus’s The Ice Queen is a character- and plot-driven mystery about revenge, power, and long-forgotten and covered up secrets from a time in German history that still affects the present.
Dang, these European mysteries are complicated!! That’s the main reason I gave it 4 stars; there are so many names!! It felt like the story got all muddled in the beginning and took so many pages just to unmuddle it again! Thankfully, once I got about a third of the way through, things started to unravel and make sense. If you can keep the characters straight, this is actually a pretty good mystery. It kept me guessing almost until the end. I was very impressed with the resolution! I don’t want to spoil anything so I won’t say anything more! It is the 3rd book in a series, which I didn’t know when I started reading it, but it was an issue. An occasional comment that didn’t make sense, but nothing to do with the plot. The main characters were actually pretty likable and had interesting arcs. They weren’t perfect by any means but the fact that I came out still liking them says a lot! So overall, a pretty good book that I would recommend!
Series: Nina Borg #2
Published: October 2, 2012
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 3 stars
Scavenging hospital ruins in northern Hungary, two Roma boys stumble on something more valuable than usual black market finds. The chain of events threatens many lives. In Denmark, Red Cross nurse Nina Borg puts her life and family on the line when she treats Hungarian Gypsies living illegally in a Copenhagen garage. What are they hiding? What makes them so sick?
Meh. I bought this book because it promised an old Soviet hospital, but it only showed up for a couple pages. So yeah. The rest was just kinda meh. The characters were the most interesting part, but even they were kinda flat. And just when I thought everything was gonna explode, it just fizzled. The resolution was incredibly anticlimactic. Plus, the motivation for the entire book was political, but not even interesting political. Basically just a Karen who had too much time on her hands … and I’m not even kidding. Did it hold my attention? Mostly, which is why it’s getting 3 stars instead of 2. But would I recommend it or even say that I enjoyed it? Nope, not really.
The Hollow Tree
Author: James Brogden
Published: March 13, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 4 stars
After losing her hand in a tragic accident, Rachel is plagued by vivid nightmares of a hollow tree, and a hand reaching from it, begging her for help. Terrified that she is going mad, Rachel experiences phantom sensations of leaves, trees, and finally a hand that grasps hers and pulls a young woman into Rachel’s world. She has no idea of who she is, but Rachel can’t help but think of the local legend of Oak Mary, the corpse of a woman found hidden in a hollow tree, and who was never identified. Three myths have grown up around the body; was she a spy, a prostitute or a murdered gypsy? Rachel is desperate to learn the truth, but darker forces are at work. For a rule has been broken, and Mary is in a world where she doesn’t belong…
Another odd read! I’m not gonna lie, halfway through this book, I was ready to just call it and move on to my next book but I’m really glad I didn’t! Unfortunately, one must slog thru the first half of this book in order to enjoy the second half, which is great! A lot of set up was required and that was all kinds of boring, but not really boring, just kinda difficult to get through. Everything felt a little disjointed. I wasn’t seeing any real connection between Rachel and her amputation and Oak Mary and her mysterious death.
But, the second half hit and boy howdy, it went off like a shot! Everything started coming together and making sense! Plus, there was a random asylum!! Y’all know I love those! By the time I was done, I was excited and actually wanted more! This is the kind of story that could be a series, but alas, it is not. I wouldn’t call this a kids’ book, it felt far too complicated! But for those who like spooky thrillers, as opposed to all out horror, this is a good one!