Simone Buchholz: The Acapulco

Today I’m joining the blog tour for The Acapulco. I’m sharing an extract from the book with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me on the tour and to Orenda Books for providing the extract.


A serial killer is on the loose in Hamburg, targeting dancers from The Acapulco, a club in the city’s red-light district, taking their scalps as gruesome trophies and replacing them with plastic wigs.

Chastity Riley is the state prosecutor responsible for crimes in the district, and she’s working alongside the police as they investigate. Can she get inside the mind of the killer?

Her strength is thinking like a criminal; her weaknesses are pubs, bars and destructive relationships, but as Chastity searches for love and a flamboyant killer – battling her demons and the dark, foggy Hamburg weather – she hits dead end after dead end.

As panic sets in and the death toll rises, it becomes increasingly clear that it may already be too late. For everyone.



Carla forced me to eat a ham toastie. Sometimes, I wish she’d just have a baby so I’d be free from her solicitude. I still feel sick, and the hangover I ordered last night is slowly wandering in. My hands shake and the pain in my head has acquired a soundtrack. Serves me right for not heeding my dad’s advice. He taught me everything he considered important, including the necessity for alcohol to be clear. I don’t know myself why I was so set on drinking that dark stuff with the lizard on the bottle last night. I just felt like it, and the guy next to me at the bar liked it too, and after three glasses, he said, ‘Ready when you are.’ 

‘Ready for what?’ I asked. 

‘We can talk now,’ he said. By about half past three, everything had been said and the bottle was empty. 

Now I can’t find the keyhole and I’m wondering when the damn caretaker will ever get round to fixing the light on the stairs. 

‘Hey, look at that, it’s my favourite neighbour.’ 

Klatsche’s sitting on the grubby wooden staircase, playing the gigolo.

‘Hey, look at that, where did you spring from?’ 

His shock of dark-blond hair could use another cut, it’s falling over his forehead. His young face bears the traces of having grown up too soon, and he is, as always, sincerely unshaven. He spends the majority of his time driving women out of their minds, and he’s pretty good at it, the little spiv. Klatsche has an impressive wide-boy career path behind him. He was fourteen when he first broke into a villa in Blankenese for a dare. He found it so easy that from then on he did it often, and by the age of sixteen he was earning good money selling electricals from his permanently sozzled parents’ garage: TVs, stereos, computers, all off the back of a lorry. When he was seventeen, he got busted for the first time – didn’t notice an alarm system. Six months later it happened again, there was a container full of music systems and someone grassed him up; he got nicked the third time when he was in the middle of emptying a warehouse of photocopiers – alone. He’d got cocky, wanted to be the famous burglar king. They gave him nine months. And since then, he gets anxious the moment a door closes behind him. He always says prison was the worst time of his life, that he never wants to go back there, no way, that he’d rather die than go back behind bars. He’d had it up to here with a life of crime. So he stopped with the burglary and set up as a locksmith. Business is booming. There’s nobody quicker, cheaper or happier picking a lock. 

‘So why are you sitting around out here?’ ‘I lost my key.

‘Oh, please, Klatsche,’ I say, ‘there’s no door in the world you can’t get open…’ 

He grins and shrugs. 

‘No way,’ I say. 

‘Yes way,’ he says. 

‘Mr Locksmith extraordinaire went out without his kit?’ 

‘A genuine emergency.’ 

I know what his emergencies look like: blonde, barely over twenty, striking statistics in the chest department. 

‘So all concerned are now exceptionally pleased that the nice neighbour has a spare key at her place, huh?’ 

Klatsche nods. He’s got his going-out leather jacket on, a rancid brown thing with a broken zip, and looks like he hasn’t had a shower today. An emergency, got you. 

‘Fine,’ I say, once I’ve finally managed to open my own door. ‘Come in.’ 

Klatsche peels himself off the step, stands up, waits three seconds on the threshold of my flat and looks at me. 

‘It’s OK,’ I say. 

He puts his hands in his trouser pockets and takes a ridiculously cautious step into my hallway. I walk wordlessly past him into the kitchen. Klatsche was last in my flat six months ago. Since then, he’s been strictly barred. Because that day, for reasons that I can no longer remember, he ended up in my bed, and we didn’t get out of it for twenty-four hours. Not that it wasn’t nice, quite the reverse. But I couldn’t think, couldn’t sleep, couldn’t work for days afterwards, it threw me off course. That scared me, and I can’t be doing with fear. Besides, the guy’s a good fifteen years younger than me.


The Acapulco is available from Amazon.

You can follow the rest of the blog tour here:

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