Shortlisted for the 2020 Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger Award

Praise for Pesticide

Kim Hays brings a sparkling new voice to police procedurals, giving us engaging and realistically drawn detectives who struggle to balance their personal lives with the demands of a gripping investigation. Set against the fascinating backdrop of modern Switzerland, Pesticide will delight crime fiction fans–a standout debut for 2022!

Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author of the award-winning Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James novels

Kim Hays hits it out of the park with her debut novel, Pesticide, giving this twisty police procedural lots of heart by creating characters that the reader truly cares about. It is a must read for mystery lovers, especially those who prefer their intrigue with an international edge.

Allen Eskens, bestselling and award-winning author of The Stolen Hours and six Max Rupert and Joe Talbot mysteries

A highly original police procedural, set in Switzerland, with a charming cop heroine who is also a mum, and blending drug deals and organic farming to produce a first-rate yarn.

Martin Walker, editor-in-chief emeritus of United Press International and author of the Bruno, Chief of Police series

Giuliana Linder and Renzo Donatelli make for one of the sharpest, most compelling police duos you’ll ever read. Their conflicted attraction bristles with true emotional depth and poignancy as they lead a rich ensemble cast through the surprisingly nefarious world of organic politics. A remarkable procedural set in Bern, Kim Hays’s Pesticide is Switzerland’s answer to Scandinavian noir. Fresh and oh so readable, you won’t want to put it down.

James W. Ziskin, author of the award-winning Ellie Stone mysteries

Kim Hays delivers a superbly written mystery set in Switzerland. Two murders, one in the old town of Bern, the other on a nearby organic farm, test the wits of veteran police detective Giuliana Linder and her handsome junior colleague, Renzo Donatelli.  The setting is fresh, the characters richly developed, and the plot as intricate as the inside of a Swiss watch. Enjoy!

Betsy Draine and Michael Hinden, co-authors of the Nora Barnes and Toby Sandler mysteries

A convincing and compelling page-turner in a unique and authentic setting, Pesticide is a cleverly-plotted mystery that manages to be well-researched, intriguing, and entertaining. Kim Hays writes complex characters and suspense equally well, and her investigating duo, Giuliana and Renzo, are sure to win the hearts of readers everywhere.               

Clare O’Dea, author of Voting Day

And here are some early reviews put out by bloggers who read an advanced review copy:

  1. From Lois K. Cox, who lives in Iowa:

From: Cox, Lois K
Sent: Friday, March 25, 2022 5:10 PM
To: ‘’ <>
Subject: Review: PESTICIDE by Kim Hays

I was lucky enough to be given an ARC of PESTICIDE by Kim Hays, to be published April 19 by Seventh Street Books (Simon and Schuster).  Who knew that a crime novel centered around the organic farming industry could be so gripping? 

Set in Bern, Switzerland and surrounding farming villages, the story describes police investigations of two violent deaths that occur within two days of each other. In Bern, a young man is beaten to death in the midst of a rave turned riot, ostensibly by a member of the police force.  In a nearby farming village, a seventyish guru of the organic farming movement is hit on the head and killed in one of his outbuildings, his body drenched in pesticide.  The cases are investigated by detectives Giuliana Linder and Renzo Donatelli of the Polizei Bern.  What follows is a carefully crafted police procedural, complete with quite a few convincing red herrings.  The setting is an important element of the whole, and we are offered intriguing glimpses into the lives of victims, police, and suspects.  The conclusion came as a surprise to me, though, in retrospect, all the clues were cleverly placed. 

Of course, there are a few things that I wish had been done differently.  There are a couple of information dumps about organic farming, but they’re short and non-preachy, and the information is vital to the plot.  I doubt the title, PESTICIDE, will draw in lots of readers since it brings to mind bug infestation.  But these are minor criticisms and I was really drawn in by the plot and the writing.  I look forward to the next Linder and Donatelli outing, which I understand  is in the works.

Ms. Hays is an American who has lived a great part of her adult life in Bern.  She knows her subject well and writes  of it with grace and fluency.  The point of view shifts between Linder and Donatelli are logical and easy to follow; the chapter headings make sense of the tight time frames.  In short, it’s easy to see why this book was short-listed in 2020 for the UK Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger.  Highly recommended.

2. From David L. Morgan on Instagram:

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