This is the first novel from Nele Neuhaus that has been translated into English, although it is actually the forth in the series, and she has apparently sold over a million copies worldwide. Tobias has just finished a ten year prison sentence for the murder of two girls, one of whom was nicknamed Snow White. Once released from prison Tobias returns to his family home in the village. As expected he is not welcome with open arms except by new girl Amelia, and his old school friend Nadia. When another young girl goes missing, the finger soon points at Tobias.
I had borrowed this book off the Sister, who had purchased it at the Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writers Festival a couple of years ago. I had been looking forward to this book, as both the cover picture and the blurb made it look good. I had read the prologue and had high hopes; however I’m afraid I was a little disappointed.
This book was originally written in German and had therefore been translated so I’m not sure how many of the issues were due to the translation rather than the writing. Certainly the majority of people have nothing but praise for this book, so I wonder if this did let it down. Also as it was actually the forth in the series, I suspect that there was a lot of back story around the central detectives that would have been in the previous books and helped build a bigger picture of their lives.
On the positive side the main story of the murder of two young girls whose bodies had not been found was good. The young girl going missing once Tobias had been released was predictable but I really did want to know what had happened to them.
However I really struggled to finish this book if I’m honest. I’m not usually someone to struggle through reading a book. Personally I think there are too many good books out there waiting to be read to bother struggling through something that you are not enjoying. Therefore its testament to how much I really wanted to enjoy Snow White Must Die and how much I wanted to find out what happened that meant I persevered but it was a slog.
I felt that it was quite a confusing read. There were an awful lot of characters that kept coming in and out of the plot. The fact that they were called by both their first name and surname seemingly interchangeably just added to the confusion. I had to keep double checking who I was actually reading about. This along with the huge number of characters and the fact that there was a lot of description meant that for me it wasn’t the easiest to follow.
However as I say the main story of the missing girls and previous murders was interesting. Overall I suspect that the main problem lies in the translation of this book rather than the writing, as a million people surely can’t be wrong.