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am 25. Februar 2014
After the finding of human remains Nick, Hank and also Renard feel the pressure from the City Hall. And more and more people disappear, what seems highly related to the ongoing finding of bare human bones. Only one is for sure: whoever is behind this is butchering and cooking the victims. With what they have to deal with? A human cannibal or a Wesen? Working hard on the puzzle Nick can finally rule out the all-human cannibal. But with what kind of Wesen he has to deal with?

In the same time Juliette has to deal with the mysterious illness of a family dog which brings this dog into fatal danger. Can she keep the pet safe with Rosalee's help? And also Monroe is going through a hard time when his past shows up at the farmer's market ...

Unless the contradictonarity the hardest work for a reviewer is to write a review about a novel he/she loves. It is easy to count down the mistakes the author has done when you care about the book but not really love it. But if a novel is nearly perfect - well, that's really tough. You don't want to praise it too high, but you also cannot point on what's not there. You cannot give advices if there's nothing you can give this advice about And you always have to keep in mind that, especially if you know the writer, you can easily be put into a box yourself.

Well, one good thing, I don't know John Passarella. Nontheless I will definitely spend more time with his other works and also hope The Chopping Block won't be his last tie-in novel for Grimm. But still, there's a little problem between this novel and me: I simply fell in love with this book!

It is a pretty rare experience for me personally to "see" and "hear" during the reading. If so, other works of the same author have a highly chance to end u[ on my bookshelf. To keep a long story short, here I felt like I was watching an episode of Grimm I saw Nick on his paper chase, I saw Monroe sighing after his old friend Decker failed another challenge, I heard Wu's snarky commentaries and Parker's voice. I felt with Hank, still on crutches, and Juliette, who fight the good fight for the family dog. And I loved every single sentence of this story, set in the right position, exactly where it would have been if this was a real (onscreen) part of the show.

Passarella did something, John Shirley didn't do: he placed his novel within the canon, and it made sense to have it there. Unless I think it was a little weird that Renard never mentioned that Eric was also in town, I loved this little hints from Nick, juggling with two cases at the same time, still searching the Baron (Cracher-Mortal) out there, knowing he was up to something, and also have to deal with the butchering of another Wesen. Yes, the novel is set between what happens in 2.21 and 2.22.

I think what I probably love the most is Juliette's side story. Finally we learn about her work at the clinic, and we see, she's really dedicated to her job. And she's staying adult during her storyline (just saying ...). Research is always a huge part of the writing process, and Passarella did here a lot of background work, which is clearly visible and makes the story even more valuable.

I also liked his little challenge with Hank so much, because it could have been also on the show. What I wrote on Twitter while I read the scenes: an early payback for Hank's "Don't make yourself too comfortable" during 3.03. Every crime-scene was like hell if you are on crutches. And, regarding to the quote I wrote above, Nick's response always was to ask Hank if he "wanted to sit this one out". Seriously, I laughed pretty loud about that!

While it was clear, right before his friend was uncovered to be involved into the cannibal-crime, that Decker, Monroe's old friend, was involved into what was going on there. But that was okay, because it was fun to see all of them (Monroe, Nick, Hank) act with Decker, not knowing that he was one of the answers they were looking for. And the clue to bring not only Hank, but also Monroe in fatal danger, could have been a lame one but turned out to be a masterpiece. When the Hundjaeger showed up in the end I first started to roll my eyes, before I read the explanation for his appeareance at the side of the crime.

Monroe's effort to teach Decker to become a Wider (yep, I know, but this would have been the correct word, not Wieder, as Wieder means "again" and Monroe is living "against" (wider) his Blutbad-instincts) were hilarious and surely another highlight of the novel. Unless what most fans are thinking, writing a believable Monroe, especially from his own inside, is hard work. Fun but hard work.

Wu shot his not-really oneliners with precession and had also a little more to do than we usually see on screen during the show. And for this also - well done! Same for Rosalee. True, she was barely there. But when she showed up during the novel she was also clearly identifiable. Renard may be a little too open, on the other side I will give there credit as I personally think he got a bust in showing a bit more of himself after 2.18.

So, what to say about The Chopping Block? I remember last week I wrote another review, counting down the main-failures another writer did for the same franchise And, as weird as this situation is now, I only can say: nearly perfect. To come back to the grades I played with last time, The Chopping Block is a clear A+. The novel is written in a lighthearted mood that it also makes easy to love it. Even the gruelsome scenes (the butchering itself, yes, Passarella describes it one chapter very ... professional) are written in a way, that gives you goosebumps but also entertains you. The tone and mood from Grimm perfectly transfered into a novel. And personally I hope this will not be the last novel in this franchise we've seen from John Passarella.
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Geo-Caching ist ein interessantes Hobby und so ist es für einen Vater, der einen Besuchstag mit seinem Sohn hat, der bei der geschiedenen Frau lebt eine ganz gute Idee, mit seinem Sohn in einem Stadtpark auf moderne Schatzsuche zu gehen.

Während er selbst den tatsächlichen Cache findet, findet sein Sohn einige Knochen und der Vater stellt sehr schnell fest, dass es sich dabei um menschliche Überreste handelt – und ruft die Polizei. Unter den Beamten, die an diesem Abend Dienst haben sind auch Hank Griffin und Nick Burkhardt.

Die Knochen sind sehr säuberlich abgearbeitet, gespalten und wie sich später herausstellt, hat man sie nach dem Abschaben auch noch in einem Topf gekocht um auch das letzte bisschen Fleisch her-unter zu bekommen. Es sieht also ganz so aus, als wären die Beamten hier auf eine Art Kannibalen gestoßen. Ein Knochenfund in einem nahe gelegenen Waldstück führt sie allerdings erst einmal auf die falsche Fährte – bis zwei Jungen beim Cross-Biking auf einem Schuttgelände auf ein weiteres Skelett finden, in dessen Nähe Hank, noch behindert durch seine Krücken nach der Achillessehnenverletzung bei seinen Hawaiiurlaub, mit seiner Gehhilfe auf einen weiteren Knochenhaufen stößt. Nun werden beide Fundorte mit Bodenradar untersucht und dabei stellt sich heraus, dass in den letzten paar Wochen etliche Skelette hier unter die Erde gebracht worden sind.

Durch Rückfrage bei Monroe stellten Hank und Nick fest, dass hier jemand anscheinend eine alte Tradition pflegen möchte, die Monroe eigentlich immer für ein Märchen innerhalb der Wesenwelt gehalten hat, und die jetzt Portland mit Macht heimsucht.

Und auch Monroe erlebt eine Heimsuchung, als er einen alten Bekannten trifft, der über Monroes Vegetarismus sehr erstaunt ist, dann aber selbst versuchen möchte, ein reformierter Blutbader zu werden. Aber Decker – so heißt dieser alte Bekannte – kann sich mit Pilates und Tai Chi nicht wirklich identifizieren und so beginnt Monroe ihn mehr und mehr für einen hoffnungslosen Fall zu halten.

Ein wirklich spannender und auch etwas verstörender Thriller, der hier und da mal ein kleineres Kontinuitätsproblem aufweist, aber davon abgesehen sehr gut zu lesen ist.
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am 18. Februar 2014
When a pile of human bones is discovered in a forest, severed and stripped of flesh, Portland Homicide Detectives Nick Burkhardt and Hank Griffin are put on the case. The two soon learn that the bones were cooked prior to being buried and the pair suspects that the killer is not human. More bones are found, but no one is able to figure out how the victims are chosen. The body count increases revealing bones from various ages, both genders, and multiple ethnicities.

The detectives turn to their friend, Monroe, who is a reformed Blutbad (basically a vegetarian werewolf) for help. Monroe recalls a story from his grandfather long ago about a group of upper crust and snobby cannibals who gather every twenty-five years to gorge themselves on human meat. The gorge fest lasts one month before all members disappear without a trace. Monroe has always believed the story to be an urban legend, but many signs are changing his mind. The three must act quickly to find and stop the slaughter, whether a killer is acting alone or with a group. Should they fail, many more people would die and many more massacres may happen in the future.

**** FOUR STARS! There is more happening than I dare reveal for fear of spoilers. Everything I state in my synopsis is either revealed to readers early on (in my opinion) or is pretty obvious. If you are not a fan of the television show, I do not believe that you will have any trouble what-so-ever. You will still be able to fully understand and enjoy the story and its plot. However, only people familiar with the show’s characters will appreciate the sub-stories involving the girlfriends of Nick and Monroe. Nick’s girlfriend, Juliette, is a vet who is trying to figure out why a family’s dog keeps going into kidney failure. Monroe’s girlfriend, Rosalee, is the owner of a tea shop.

Personally, I have not watched every episode of the television show, but I have watched most of them. Therefore, I can honestly state that the author has managed to perfectly capture the personality of each individual character. This novel is an original story, never before seen on television or published.

Author John Passarella writes stories that will long linger in your nightmares. ****

Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews
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