Zoë Beck

Paradise City - Thriller

(German title: Paradise City)
ca. 280 pages
Zoë Beck
Foto: Zoë Beck
© Victoria Tomaschko

Zoë Beck, born in 1975, completed her education in Germany and England. She is a writer, translator (including works by Sally Rooney and Denise Mina), publisher (CulturBooks), and also works in film and television. She lives in Berlin. Zoë Beck belongs among the most important German crime fiction authors and has been awarded numerous prizes such as the Friedrich-Glauser-Prize, the Radio Bremen Crime Fiction Prize and the German Crime Fiction Prize, among others.

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Don’t worry, you’ll be taken care of. Sure as death…

German Crime Fiction Prize 2020


Germany in the near future. The coasts are flooded, large parts of the country are depopulated and nature is reclaiming deserted communities. Berlin is nothing but a backdrop for tourists. The government has moved to Frankfurt, which has merged with the entire Rhine Main Area to become one single megacity. In those places where infrastructure exists, it works flawlessly. Virtually all life is controlled by algorithms. Everyone is fine – as long as they don’t ask any questions.

Lina, a researcher for one of the last independent, non-state-owned news portals, is sent to the Uckermark to investigate whether a local woman has actually been attacked by jackals, even though she was originally meant to take on an explosive story. While she begrudgingly does her job, her boss has an extremely strange accident and a young colleague is murdered. Both had been working on the story that had originally been promised to Lina. Initially, she believes that it was about large-scale trade with health information, but then she discovers the eerie truth: Someone close to her has the power to decide about the life or death of almost everyone in the country. And this power is now getting out of control…


»Zoë Beck – the multi-talent of crime fiction.« DIE ZEIT

»Zoë Beck has perfected the ability to convey in her stories contemporary phenomena that have about as many layers to them as her novels have pages.« Die Welt

»Zoë Beck makes the world [of Paradise City] and its idiosyncrasies become so vivid, with a sure sense for necessary details, and she also knows which techie nerd-terms should better be avoided.« Peter Körte, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Zoë Beck is very skilled in creating internal tension, imaginative and plausible scenarios and scatter the backstory of the future world in which all of this is set around the text in casual allusions.« Katharina Granzin, taz. die tageszeitung

»Beck’s linguistic minimalism has the effect of tilt–shift photography, in which rich colours and purposeful blurring can make even […] skyrises seem like a miniature.« Katrin Doerksen, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

»Paradise City adds a nice twist to the ›thriller‹ genre. Evil is rooted in good.« Marlen Hobrack, der Freitag

»For fans of intelligent science-fiction thrillers.« Denis Scheck, WDR

»Despite its bleak vision of the future, Paradise City is an incredibly gripping thriller, without frills and as cleverly constructed as we are used to from Zoë Beck […]« Christian Seidl, Berliner Zeitung

»Paradise City varies motifs from classics such as Brave New World. The future scenario is believable, the plot is complex and gripping.« Peter Twiehaus, ZDF-Morgenmagazin

»Zoё Beck’s narration is fast-paced, but she also dedicates time to her strong female characters. She conceives a high-tech nightmare but isn’t annoying with the depiction of technical details. Instead, she leads us right into the normality of a future everyday world.« Matthias Schümann, NDR

»The issues, the scenario – due to the Corona pandemic, all of this seems even more topical than Zoë Beck could have fathomed as she was writing [this book]. […] Her novel Paradise City packs a punch. Apart from a dynamic thriller plot, it deals with many current topics.« rbb Quergelesen

»Just the right read for experienced readers of crime novels. Once more, the popular author shows what her pen can do.« Horst Tress, Köllefornia

»A gripping thriller. The characters are constructed very vividly and the images that arise during the read seem cinematic. The scenario is frighteningly plausible and the novel’s plot keeps getting more and more thrilling.« leseschatz.com

Other publications

Die Lieferantin/The Supplier (2017)

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