Girl at Midnight

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Sep 2019

Member Reviews

Girl at Midnight is the first book by Katarzyna Bonda that I have read and whilst the blurb or sypnosis was promising I struggled to get into the book and found it too slow so not one I would recommend
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This book was very well written. Nice and easy to read and flowed well. Had me on the edge of my seat. Wondering which way it was going to go. Great mystery can’t beat it.
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This is the first book I have read translated from Polish and I’m not sure if it’s the translation that seemed to dampen the book a little or the amount of characters, or even the fact the book seemed to just from one place to another without ending a page or paragraph. For instance one minute Sasza is talking arranging her next meeting after taking on the initial profiling job and then in the next sentence she is with her daughter visiting her mother and her brother.

The story and plot is very intense and quite difficult to follow at times because it just jumped all over the place. I couldn’t see where one bit ended and the next began. We are in a Catholic Church one minute where the family have gone for mass and then the next minute the story is telling you how a girl was used as a prostitute and just kept getting sold on from one person to another until she was taken as a wife.

I have read numerous books that have been translated from other languages to English but this one was a real struggle it’s also a very long book. 

I just found this one a little too much even the crime scene guy was called Jeckyl and had to make do with the equipment he had when examining the crime scene at the needles nightclub. Obviously this is just my opinion and others may love this and I realise it has been a top selling novel in Poland. But for me there needed to be some breaks where one part ended and the next began. Overall it is a well written story but far too many characters to follow with trying to pronounce the names and places in my head and referring back to where each character had previously been mentioned.

This is definitely not a lighthearted read it’s one that needs to be read with no distractions and full concentration.
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Girl at Midnight by Katarzyna Bonda is a huge crme bestseller in Poland, and I am not surprised, it is such a intense and compulsive read. However, it is complex, convulated storytelling that goes back and forth in time, with a large cast of characters, requiring patience and a need to pay attention to details from the reader. Set in Poland, Saszu Zaluska is a psychological profiler completing her PhD in England, she has spent the last 7 years in Northern England with her 6 year old daughter, Karolina. She had arrived in England after spectacular mistakes as an undercover cop, with a alcohol problem that she was struggling to throw off, receiving no family support whatsoever, and had hit rock bottom emotionally. She has now made the decision that the time is right for her to return to Poland, finish her research there, whilst seeking employment that will support her and Karolina, hoping for work at a bank.

Saszu has barely moved into her new home that she is delighted with, when she gets a late night call from a man claiming to be Blawicki, an ex-cop, now running a club called Needles with problems that he wants Saszu to investigate, offering to reward her handsomely if she takes on the private commission. For Saszu, this solves some of her immediate financial needs, only to find herself right in the middle of a criminal and police world that she had thought she had long left behind after barely beginning her interviews at the club. There is a high profile murder of the musician, Needles, famous in Poland for a hit song, Girl at Midnight, and the club manager, Iza, has been shot too, but survives. Evidence at the crime scene suggests that Lucja Lange, friend of Iza, recently a barmaid fired for theft at the club, is the killer, apparently motivated by revenge. Saszu is not convinced that Lange is the killer, she does not fit the profile, and the evidence against her feels too obvious suggesting an effort to frame her. Saszu starts to work as a profiler for the police, joining Detective Robert 'Ghost' Duchnowski to help find the murderer, convinced the song, Girl at Midnight, is critical to the case, with its references to a long ago past in which a brother and sister died on the same day.

I am not sure what I expected when I began to read this novel, but it was not what I got, this is an epic twisted crime saga of the criminal world, fraud, the Catholic church, police and judicial corruption, twin brothers, Marcin and Wojtek who no-one can tell apart, guilt, grief and loss. Saszu is a woman with her own demons, still struggling to stay away from the alcohol, only aided by her determination to do her best for her happy go lucky daughter, Karolina. Returning to Poland allows Karolina to get to know Saszu's family, something that is important to Saszu. I loved this entertaining read that immersed me into the dark Polish criminal underworld and a police force where an honest cop can be hard to find. I recommend this to readers interested in Poland and with a penchant for complex and intricate crime fiction. Many thanks to Hodder and Stoughton for an ARC.
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An absolutely outstanding book. We’ll written, emotional and has a great insight into underground crime. Set in Poland. This book is just an amazing, gripping crime thriller x
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