Snow White Must Die

Nele Neuhaus is a German author making her US debut in the mystery Snow White Must Die. Set in the small town of Altenhaim, the story starts out with the discovery of a skeleton in an oil tank on abandoned property. And just keeps going from there.

Tobias Sartorius has just been released from prison after serving a 10 year sentence for the murders of 2 girls from Altenhaim. The bodies have never been found.  He has steadfastly proclaimed his innocence, and just released from prison, he decides to head home after being met at the prison by Nadia Van Bredlow, a famous German actress and a childhood friend of Tobias'. There are a few surprises waiting for Tobias in his old hometown:  his parents have divorced, his father has lost his business, the village is run down and the people who still live there still hate him. In fact the village is harboring a dark secret and they want Tobias gone. Forever.

Pia Kirchoff is a detective on the scene of the found bones. When she realizes that this is one of the girls Tobias allegedly killed she decides to take a closer look at the investigation of the deaths from 11 years ago.  What Pia reads in the police file sets off a series of events that unravel not only some personal lives, but the whole town of Altenhaim. The town has a dark secret and the people involved do not want it to get out.

This is a great story. This book takes the premises of it takes a village to raise a child and stands it on its head. Neuhaus has written a taut thriller. The pace is fast, but the story just keeps unfolding. Every time I though I had it figured out, another layer of the secret came to light. If you are looking for a new author, try Nele Neuhaus: you won't be disappointed.

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