A Murderlust by Franzi Wolf

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Dangerous. Very erotic. Hilarious. Bavarian!

A mayor also known as “Hooker Mane”. A greedy contractor. A wild blood sister quartet. African refugees. A priest with a double life. And the old heathen who shows up whenever it’s not convenient.
A cruel murder reshuffles the cards of the protagonists – and in the midst of the supposed idyll of the Bavarian Forest, human abysses open up.
Franzi Wolf, the newcomer to the Bavarian literary scene, carries the readers away: into a perfidious and tingling microcosm somewhere in the Bavarian nowhere! Read more about books here: https://www.weltbild.de/buecher/neuheiten

My opinion

I wanted to try something new, as I have always been rather reserved when it comes to regional crime thrillers, which also have a sense of humour. Unfortunately, the curious pleasure of this village life, which the author takes with a lot of humour, could not make me really laugh. Which of course could simply be due to my sense of humor, but I realized that it’s probably not my world.

I found the many entanglements and misunderstandings funny, which led to secrecy and unusual solutions and which were also well connected in themselves by the structure. The author really makes use of all the clichés that one can find about the Bavarian “culture” and literally pulls everything and everyone through the cocoa.

The literal speech also has a very Bavarian touch, because only the local priest speaks High German – all the others speak in Bavarian dialect, which I thought was a nice idea; however, I have to admit that even for me, who come from Bavaria, it was sometimes a bit strenuous reading and I had to read through the sentences slowly.
Therefore, some words at the end of the page were translated into High German, so that no erroneous meaning was given.

It is a very typical picture that is presented to the reader here, with all the primeval, human hopes and abysses, the despair and hope to do the right thing and the perverse consequences that can result.

The sexually underused quartet of ladies, which plays a very important role, usually seemed a bit too clumsy to me, as do the little lustful interludes. It was appropriate for the plot, for me it just wasn’t what I had expected…
Unfortunately I didn’t get quite warm with the characters either, although it’s not designed for that and probably my experience with the genre and the kind of story is too little. As an entertaining pleasure surely worth reading, if you can laugh about this humor and with 150 pages also a quick distraction for in between.

I noticed that this simply does not meet my reading taste, even if I felt quite entertained in between.

Possibly small spoilers

Still Saha can hardly believe it: She is a submarine, half human, half mermaid. Together with her flock she explores the ocean. When Saha meets the mysterious prince of the swarm of grey riders and rides with him on his whale, she is enchanted. She is determined to decide her own fate from now on. But the King of the Grey Knights has sinister plans for the submarines, in which Saha of all people plays an important role as a mediator between the worlds. Saha is in great danger and must make a momentous decision …

The story takes place in Australia in the year 2151.
The world has been changed by a great climate catastrophe and people live in different zones: traditional and free. While all over the world small changes in the genes are now allowed, people with deeper manipulations of the genetic make-up are only allowed to live in free zones.

Saha grew up in the conventional town of Seahaven and the first volume was about her search for herself. For she is not simply a human being, but has the genetically modified genetic material of her father in her, who belongs to the “submarines”, the sea people. They live in secret, because according to their traditional knowledge it is better not to show yourself to the air people. Too often in the past, the “other”, the “unknown” has been hunted down.

Saha was also able to keep her origin secret, but now she wants to search for her father. In this respect Saha is a bit naive – because the ocean is huge and finding a single person there is almost impossible. But the submarines are numerous and so she hopes that one of them can help her.
But that is not the only point where Saha shines with her guilelessness. Through her past history one knows that she is indeed still very clueless on many levels, but I was then stepped on too often in some places. Her thoughts and feelings have been going around in circles for quite some time, which is also because of the fact that there is very little dialogue. Of course the underwater people can’t talk and communicate with a kind of sign language, but the author has solved this problem very well!

As a matter of fact, the plot proceeds relatively slowly. This may disturb some readers – I myself found it a bit long-winded at times, but if you adapt to the pacing, it has its charm. Because life in the underwater world is described very nicely and if you imagine what the conditions under water are like, this slowed down, quiet atmosphere is actually very well suited for it! Saha can only slowly adapt to this rhythm and also the freedom; however, she has finally found a place where she feels accepted.
But the harmony does not last long, because even under water different groups and opinions have formed about how the future of the sea people should look like. But Saha always stands somehow in between, because she does not want to admit her role as a “mediator” and does not know how she could realize it. Besides, she just wants to find her father – but in doing so she gets caught between the fronts and into the old systems, which have power and progress as their goal.

This is a problem that we also have in today’s world and raises the question of whether there will always be structures in a society that are oriented towards values that actually have no meaning at all for life and survival. Who know exactly how to deceive and put pressure on others to strengthen their power.

The whole thing is told from Saha’s ego-perspective and, as already mentioned above, it was sometimes a bit long-winded. She feels insecure and is therefore undecided, which is understandable. But all in all the writing style is fluent and especially the underwater world is described very vividly. But one has to get used to the names of the submarines, because they don’t have a language but communicate with signs, so they are called e.g. “swim-fast”, “dive-deep” or “always laughing”.

From the halfway point on, the pace picks up again and there are some nasty surprises. Saha grows more and more into her role and even though she is still afraid of being excluded, she luckily can rely on some of her friends.

I really hope that the third volume won’t be so long in coming, because there are of course still some open conflicts that want to be solved!