The Firemaker by Peter May
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
A burned corpse in a park in Beijing is the beginning of a strange mystery for Beijing detective Li Yan and forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell. Together they must work out who the man is if it was suicide or murder. And if it was murder, who would want to kill him? Since they got on the wrong foot with each other at the first meeting must they also find a way to work together without frictions with is easier said than done.
Peter May's Lewis trilogy is one that I truly enjoyed reading so I was quite eager to read The Firemaker when I got the chance to it. It was very interesting to read about Beijing. This is I'm quite sure the first crime book I have read that takes place in Beijing and the difference in the way of life there to ours in the west is fascinating. Peter May begin the book with telling the reader about his journey to China and his great interest in the country. And, I can tell that in the book with the details and how well he was written about the cultural difference between China and the west.
Margaret Campbell has left America to get away from some personal problems and she is absolutely not ready for the cultural shock that she is in for in Beijing. She should have read up more about what to do and what not to do before she sat foot in Beijing, but she didn't and that means that right from the start is she upsetting pretty much everyone. You know when you tell someone what not to do and the person instead go ahead and do it? Yup, that's Margaret Campbell in this book. For instance, the first time Margaret met Li Yan she makes him lose face. And, it just goes downhill from that one...
Still they and up working together and, despite their first annoyance with each other is there a spark between them and the more they work together, well let's say that they find each other quite acceptable towards the end.
The case with the burned body was an interesting one, unfortunately, I came to feel that it took forever to get somewhere with it. The book is pretty thick and the investigation was a bit slow and sometimes during the middle and towards the end that I feel almost a bit of desperation for the story to get somewhere. And, then finally, the investigation started to take off and then it took a horrible turn for Li Yan and Margaret.
So, in the end, the case was interesting, but the book felt a bit slow now and then. I did, however, like Li Yan and Margaret quite well. Sure Margaret's overbearing attitude was a bit annoying, but she started to respect the Chinese culture more and more towards the end of the book.
I want to thank the publisher for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!