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Thriller set in Hamburg (with a side trip to Cartagena)

21st April 2021

Hotel Cartagena by Simone Buchholz, thriller set in Hamburg (with a side trip to Cartagena). Translated by Rachel Ward.

Thriller set in Hamburg (with a side visit to Cartagena, Colombia)

Hotel Cartagena is the fourth book in Simone’s excellent Chastity Riley thriller series – but it can absolutely be read as a standalone (as, indeed, can any of the others – see our reviews of Blue Night, Beton Rouge, and Mexico Street). Simone lives in the heart of Sankt Pauli, and clearly knows the city extremely well – from the underbelly to the somewhat more refined parts.

Chasity is attending a birthday party 20 floors up in the bar of a very smart harbour side hotel in Hamburg. It is a party for Faller, one of her police colleagues. All her police ‘friends’ are in attendance. As the party is just getting underway, the bar and its drinkers are overpowered by a group of hostage takers… What do they want? The answer is to subject the hotel owner (who is also in the bar) to humiliation and torture. But why?

To find out the answer we have to go back to 1984, and make our way forwards. A young 19 year old man worked his passage on a ship bound for Cartagena, Colombia to start a new life away from the disappointments and gloom of Hamburg. Beach life was good. He fell in with dubious company, and started shipping cocaine back to Hamburg. The business grew and many became rich – until something went wrong forcing him to move to Curaçao. The operation was compromised in Hamburg and of course the Cartels had muscled in!

Which all leads (and I won’t tell you how) to the hostage situation.

Hotel Cartagena is a very exciting thriller with a quite splendid ending. Simone is an excellent writer and Rachel Ward, the translator, also deserves a shout out.

Highly recommended if you like your thrillers fast and furious.

Tony for the TripFiction team

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