Blurb: A family of four is found murdered in the heart of one of the new Art Deco estates in the city. It’s a brutal crime, committed without mercy.
Under questioning, a suspect confesses, but Danilov is not convinced of his guilt. When the accused is murdered on the steps of the police station, he investigates to clear the man’s name, diving deep into the dark heart of Shanghai, uncovering the greed and jealousy, triads and police corruption that lurks in the City of Shadows.
This is the second book in the Danilov series. The first, Death in Shanghai, is also available from Carina.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Review: Having already read and reviewed Death in Shanghai (review here) as part of the blog tour for that book I jumped at the chance to be involved in the tour for this one because I knew it would be as good as the first. This book starts off a little while after the last one ended as there has been a change to Danilov’s life and we see that reflected throughout the book as it and other thoughts associated with it prey on his mind. That said, it doesn’t distract him from his real purpose which is solving the murder of a family of four in their home. Although the murder is committed in an area which Danilov is responsible for another detective takes over the case and arrests someone within hours. This suspect is then locked in the police station until Danilov convinces his superior that he needs medical attention and while the suspect is being moved from the station to an ambulance he is killed and the detective in charge of the case flees. This then becomes a story of two mysteries, both separate and connected, where has the detective gone and why, and who really murdered the family.
As with the previous book this one takes us all over Shanghai with excellent descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells. The relationship between Danilov and Strachan is developing nicely and although they are quite different people the fact they respect and listen to each other makes this relationship work. This book is brilliantly crafted and while not a fast read it goes at a steady pace. There are points where you can makes guesses as to what happens next but only if you’ve been paying attention because there is so much detail and information that even skipping one page could cause confusion. While you are reading the first few chapters wondering where this story is going to go, it is slowly drawing you in to the point where you are walking and running side by side with the characters, getting anxious because they do and feeling what they feel whether good or bad. This is one of those books that leaves you wanting more and hating that you have to wait for the next book to find out what happens. As well as wanting to know what happens next for both Danilov and Strachan after the events of this book there is also the ending that had me shouting at the author (sorry!) from my sofa because of the way he ended the book. I never saw that coming at all and now I have to wait months to find out how it turns out. This is one of those endings that makes you hate the fact that the writing and publishing process takes months instead of days. I am bereft, sad and worried about these characters and yet all I can do is wait……………………
About the author: Martin has spent most of his adult life writing in one form or another. As a University researcher in history, he wrote pages of notes on reams of obscure topics. As a social worker with Vietnamese refugees, he wrote memoranda. And, as the creative director of an advertising agency, he has written print and press ads, tv commercials, short films and innumerable backs of cornflake packets and hotel websites.
He has spent 25 years of his life working outside the North of England. In London, Hong Kong, Taipei, Singapore, Bangkok and Shanghai, winning awards from Cannes, One Show, D&AD, New York and London Festivals, and the United Nations.
Whilst working in Shanghai, he loved walking through the old quarter of that amazing city, developing the idea behind a series of crime novels featuring Inspector Pyotr Danilov, set in 1920s and 30s.
When he’s not writing, he splits his time between the UK and Asia, taking pleasure in playing with his daughter, practicing downhill ironing, single-handedly solving the problem of the French wine lake and wishing he were George Clooney.