German author Nele Neuhaus’ police procedurals featuring Oliver von Bodenstein and Pia Kirchhoff and their team have now been published in fifteen countries with over FIVE million copies in print. Last year’s The Ice Queen is now in paperback, for those who missed the third installment. Each case is solved in a book so you can start anywhere but for readers who like to follow the personal lives of the two main detectives, the first is Snow White Must Die, followed by Bad Wolf.
I Am Your Judge is the newest and the team will face it toughest case yet. With many out sick with the flu as the holidays approach, Pia is packing to leave for her honeymoon when a phone call will change her plans. An elderly woman out walking her dog has been shot, sniper style. Then a second woman is killed in the same way, this time standing in her own kitchen talking to her grand-daughter. Neither one had enemies and no motive can be found, nor a link between the two victims.
Is this sniper out killing indiscriminate people, or are they targeted?
Then two more murders follow in rapid succession just as Pia and Oliver discover a most unlikely connection–and the sniper starts leaving cryptic messages. It seems the victims are chosen for their relation to some other person the sniper wants to hurt deeply for an issue that happened years ago.
There will be unreliable witnesses, messages sent to the newspaper, and one of the victim’s daughters who starts her own investigation, determined to find out who killed her mother and why. Tightly plotted, with a sense of real police work and frustrations, conflicting personalities, and interfering and sometimes unhelpful consultants.
Meanwhile, Pia’s new husband has gone off on their honeymoon alone, the holidays occur, and Oliver has his own familial and relationship issues. One of the highlights of Neuhaus’ writing is how the lives of this duo overlap with their work and thoughts in a realistic manner that has them one of Auntie M’s favorite series.
It should be mentioned that the book is translated by Steven T. Murray. Highly recommended.