“Tobias Sartorius returns home after being released from prison to find his parents divorced, their lives in shambles and a village still blaming him for the murders of two girls whose bodies have never been found.
Convicted on circumstantial evidence, even Tobias isn’t certain of his innocence since he had blacked out from alcohol and couldn’t remember any details from the time in question. His only supporters while in prison were Claudius Terlinden, a wealthy entrepreneur to whom everyone in the village is beholden, and Nadia, a former tomboy pal who is now a famous actress. Even they can’t protect him from vengeful neighbors and harbor secrets that won’t be revealed till later in the novel.
When Tobi’s mother is pushed off a pedestrian bridge into traffic and the body of one of the missing girls is discovered, tension escalates. His only friend is Amelie, a young waitress, and her probing into the past puts her and Terlinden’s autistic son in mortal danger. When Amelie disappears it seems the past is repeating itself.
As they investigate, Detective Inspector Pia Kirchoff and Detective Superintendent Oliver von Bodenstein uncover reasons to believe Tobias was innocent all along and find themselves caught up in a frustrating race against time to prevent more murders as they deal with personal and personnel problems.
The U.S. debut of German mystery writer Nele Neuhaus is a multi-level thriller that truly had me flipping pages to see what surprise was coming next. Despite a few minor translation glitches, I’m eager to read another books in this series.