** NOW SHORTLISTED FOR THE CWA INTERNATIONAL DAGGER**
The first in a thrilling new crime series set in Germany - the Black Forest Investigations
Louise Boni, maverick chief inspector with the Black Forest crime squad, is struggling with her demons. Divorced at forty-two, she is haunted by the shadows of the past.
Dreading yet another a dreary winter weekend alone, she receives a call from the departmental chief which signals the strangest assignment of her career - to trail a Japanese monk wandering through the snowy wasteland to the east of Freiburg, dressed only in sandals and a cowl. She sets off reluctantly, and by the time she catches up with him, she discovers that he is injured, and fearfully fleeing some unknown evil. When her own team comes under fire, the investigation takes on a terrifying dimension, uncovering a hideous ring of child traffickers. The repercussions of their crimes will change the course of her own life.
Oliver Bottini is a fresh and exciting voice in the world of crime fiction in translation; the Rhine borderlands of the Black Forest are a perfect setting for his beautifully crafted mysteries.
Translated from the German by Jamie Bulloch
German author Bottini's uneven first in his Black Forest series introduces German police detective Louise Boni, who's been traumatized by an earlier case and otherwise has a host of personal problems, including alcoholism. When an Asian monk appears outside Freiburg, bruised, battered, and terrified, the xenophobic police decide to monitor him at first, until they realize somebody is chasing him. After one of Boni's colleagues is shot dead and another wounded, she's placed on leave, though she continues to pursue the case, uncovering a connection to a Buddhist monastery just across the French border. Links emerge to a horrifying adoption and child trafficking operation, and Boni becomes a target for the culprits. Even as she grapples with the investigation, her wary colleagues, and her own demons, something is awakened in Boni that provides a surprisingly meditative, spiritual component to her quests. The epilogue offers a measure of hope. Though the choppy style makes for slow going, the action picks up as the pieces of the puzzle start fitting together. American readers will find little that's new.