First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, B.C. Schiller, and Amazon Publishing UK for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.
New to the world of the husband-wife duo calling themselves B.C. Schiller, I was not sure what to expect. The short dust jacket blurb had me intrigued about this novel, though I was not entirely confident this had ‘translated’ onto the written page, if you will pardon the pun. Dr. Olivia Hofmann nervously checks the post and discovers yet another postcard with an apology and no more. It has been five years since Dr. Hofmann’s husband and young daughter have disappeared without a trace, which coincides with the brutal murder and incineration of a teenage girl, Lisa Manz. While meeting one of her clients, Hofmann discovers that he is holding onto a rucksack belonging the Manz and might have key answers to the crime, or be the murderer himself. When Hofmann agrees to meet him at his home the following day, she watched him fall from his second storey window, a shadowy figure seen pushing him. Dr. Hofmann reaches out to her acquaintance, Levi Kant, who was the detective on the Manz case, but who was removed close to its resolution when he was shot by another perpetrator. Armed not only with the rucksack, but also a diary that Lisa kept, Hofmann and Kant begin trying to piece things together, including discovering who this mystery ‘doctor’ was who is mentioned in the diary and is surely involved in abusing Lisa Manz. When someone targets Hofmann with a vehicle, trying to wipe her out, the panic level increases, but nothing will stop Kant from revealing the truth, something he has wanted to discover for the last number of years. A decent piece of crime work, though it did not jump off the page for me. I suppose those who enjoy quick thrillers will want to give this a try, though I cannot see it being catapulted to the top of many to-be-read lists.
As this was my first experience with B.C. Schiller crime writing, I have no outside context other than this novel. While the premise was good, I was left wanting much more, as I could not help feeling the entire experience was a tad beige for me. There seems to be a race for protagonist here, between Dr. Olivia Hofmann and Levi Kant. Hofmann takes centre stage early and the reader learns about her agonising confusion about a missing child and husband, though she seems to have been able to focus on her work. In an industry that has little downtime, Hofmann must juggle her patients and a mentally ill father, whose acuity is diminishing by the day. Still, she finds time to break away and join this impromptu investigation into the death of a teenager. Levi Kant, on the other hand, was one of Vienna’s great detectives, only to have his work come crashing down when a bullet entered his leg. Now teaching at the police academy, he has always wondered about that one case that slipped through his fingers. With a Jewish backstory that some may find intriguing, Kant is also a man of many passions in his current life, which he shares throughout. Others find their way directing the story in their own way, some effectively and others simply popping up to play their part and evaporating again. The story was decent and I cannot be entirely sure if the plot’s strength was ‘lost in translation’ or if I am simply setting the bar too high. I did not dislike the book entirely, but I had hoped for a more meatier tale to keep me fully captivated. The chapters were short and I flew through the book in short order, so I cannot say it was a laborious task whatsoever. I’d likely give the series another try, should something else be published, but I am not making any promises.
Kudos, Mr. and Mrs. Schiller, for a decent plot. While the delivery was not there for me, I may be asking too much all at once.
A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/248185-a-book-for-all-seasons