Review: Big Bad Wolf by Nele Neuhaus

Title: Big Bad Wolf {Kirchhoff and von Bodenstein}

Author: Nele Neuhaus

Published: PanMacmillan February 2014

Read an Excerpt

Status: Read from January 29 to 31, 2014 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher}

My Thoughts:

Publishers do both the author and their readers a disservice when they opt to translate series out of order. Snow White Must Die was the first book authored by Nele Neuhaus to be released in English with this, Big Bad Wolf, the second, but in the original German the titles are the 4th and 6th respectively and I’m irritated by the resultant gaps. While it is true that the cases the team investigates are resolved within the framework of a single novel, the characters personal stories are ongoing and the missing details do have an effect on my enjoyment of, and my attachment to, the series. @ Goodreads

With that rant out of my system…

As is Nuehaus’s habit, she begins Big Bad Wolf by introducing several seemingly unrelated characters and incidents, which slowly merge as the story unfolds. These include the discovery of a dead girl whose autopsy reveals signs of extensive and sustained abuse, an unscrupulous television host on the trail of a big story, a convicted pedophile on parole, a bikie gang leader, a woman worried about the changes in the behaviour of both her husband and daughter, and a vindictive Internal Affairs officer. As Chief Detective Inspector Pia Kirchoff and her partner, Detective Oliver von Bodenstein, investigate they begin to piece together the details of a horrific conspiracy which threatens to overwhelm them both.

With the large cast and multiple story threads, Big Bad Wolf can initially feel a little overcrowded and disjointed, but patience is eventually rewarded if you persevere. The story slowed for me around the middle, chiefly because I made the main connections very early and as such felt as if I was waiting for Pia and her team to catch up, but the shifts in character perspective ensures the pace rarely lags. The conclusion is tense and dramatic, but not as neat as may be expected.

Though rarely explicit, I found I had to put the book down at times and take a deep breath, finding some elements of the story emotionally distressing. Though the framework of this novel is fiction, it explores the horrifying reality of sexual violence against children and the extent of the network that trades in it.

Overall, I thought Big Bad Wolf to be an absorbing and satisfying police procedural, though the premise is challenging and may be difficult for some readers. The translation is skilful, I only wish I had the opportunity to read the fifth novel to eliminate the gaps in the development of Pia and Oliver’s character.

Available to Purchase from

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Also published as Bad Wolf and Böser Wolf

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. 1girl2manybooks
    Feb 04, 2014 @ 20:19:25

    I haven’t read this particular series but I have come across other translated fiction where they start at bk3 or translate the titles out of order and for the life of me I cannot understand why!

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  2. Kailana
    Feb 06, 2014 @ 03:57:04

    I thought that was the case with the books being released out of order. It is why I haven’t rushed out to read them. The books sound good, but you are not the first person to mention the loss of information because the series jumps around. And I like reading a series in order…

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  3. cleopatralovesbooks
    Feb 09, 2014 @ 05:29:07

    I really enjoyed Snow White Must Die but also couldn’t understand why the publishers didn’t go with the first in the series, with another gap this makes even less sense. I think I’d rather wait and start at the beginning now. Thanks for the great review!

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