Another encounter with monstrous iniquity for Pia Kirchhoff, Oliver von Bodenstein and the other stalwarts of Hofheim’s Criminal Police (Snow White Must Die, 2013).
Even before she drowned, the nameless girl fished out of the river near the Eddersheim locks had suffered terrible damage. Her skin showed bruises and burns that were years old, and her malnourishment and pallor suggested that she’d been fed little and kept imprisoned away from the sunlight. Pulled away from a class reunion where she connected once more with her old friend Emma Finkbeiner, Pia, frustrated by the lack of leads, must also dodge the unwelcome attention of Frank Behnke, a disgraced colleague who’s now working for Internal Affairs and bent on revenge. Across town, TV personality Hanna Herzmann gets a line on a shadowy story involving convicted child molester Kilian Rothemund and veteran thug Berndt Prinzler, a story so big and explosive that she’s convinced it will send her career into hyperdrive, even though her producer, Wolfgang Matern, godfather of her unlovable daughter, Meike, urges her to drop it like a hot potato. She refuses, and soon, both she and Leonie Verges, the psychotherapist who brought the case to her attention, will pay a high price for their interest. The highest price, though, will be exacted from a long line of innocent children terrified of the Big Bad Wolf, from Lilly Sander, the granddaughter of Pia’s live-in boyfriend, Christoph, to Emma’s daughter Louisa, whose visit to the emergency room reveals injuries inconsistent with her fall from a horse.
A densely plotted but sprawling exercise in unbridled evil. Spoiler alert: Most of the bad guys turn out to be good, and most of the good guys turn out to be bad.