Top positive review
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A thriller with a difference
on 6 April 2008
Every detective writer wants to create a hero with issues but who we still manage to like, but Simon Lewis really sets himself up with a challenge; Jian, a Chinese answer to Life on Mars' Gene Hunt, is a corrupt, brutal, middle-aged cop who helps enforce human rights abuses in China. Nice! He is in the UK to find his missing daughter, and teams up with Ding Ming, newly arrived in the back of a truck, who is trying to find his wife.
The story unfolds brilliantly from the first page. It is really fast-paced and quite funny, genuinely perplexing as you consider their predicament, and yet is resolved (reasonably) believably. Most of all, the characters are likeable and we see different scenarios, including English culture, from a variety of viewpoints.
There are a couple of bum notes, especially part of the plot that recalls a dreadful tragedy with Chinese immigrants in a tomato lorry, which is in bad taste and makes the story bleaker that it seems intended to be (hence 4 stars instead of 5), and the middle part of the book could do with at least 50 pages trimmed. But overall it is a distinct cut above many of the other page-turner thrillers out there, tackling real issues with wit and panache.