Although there is crime in Ulan Baatar, the capital of Mongolia, finding a corpse missing it's head and hands is far from normal. Negrui, ex-head of the Serious Crime Squad is ordered back to his former role with instructions to clear the case immediately. When the fourth victim is a British geologist, senior British CID officer Drew McLeish is sent to work with Negrui and his successor, Doripalam. The trail leads them through the capital city, to the steppes and into the Gobi desert trying to learn the connection between the killings when Drew is kidnapped.
Walker does a wonderful job of bringing the reader to present day Mongolia. His descriptions of the country, the contrasts in cultures and the winter season are so well done. It was fascinating to read a story set in a country about which I'd never given much thought. The characters of Negrui and Drew balanced well; neither was overbearing and I liked that both seemed a bit out of their depth. It was interesting to have Negrui be the lead character. The story flowed well; I certainly read it straight through, but the plot didn't completely hold together. There were incidents not really explained, the end felt very abrupt and the motive behind the crimes detracted from the suspense of the story. I found this a very credible first book, well worth reading for the setting alone, and look forward to Walker's second book.