Magazine article World Literature Today

I Am Your Judge

Magazine article World Literature Today

I Am Your Judge

Article excerpt

Nele Neuhaus. I Am Your Judge. Trans. Steven T. Murray. New York. Minotaur Books. 2016. 406 pages.

Nele Neuhaus is a best-seller in Germany and proposes to be one here. She may well succeed. It is easy to see why this is so when reading her latest book.

The title evokes Mickey Spillane's titles, such as I the Jury and Vengeance Is Mine. The story is a conventional police procedural featuring Pia Kirchhoff, a woman detective, and Oliver von Bodenstein, her partner. It starts with a scene in which the first victim is murdered in italics, the anonymity of the killer preserved by judicious use of pronouns. The crime interrupts Pia's plans for her honeymoon, as, of course, no one else is available, and, like the usual overworked fictional detective, she then takes on the crime as a mission, leading the reader through a series of clues and subsequent murders to what is supposed to be a shocking, or at least surprising, conclusion.

Unfortunately, publishers have a pretty good idea what bells and whistles best-sellers should sound and tend to reduce these things to formulas. …

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