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Thursday 17 December 2015

'Dragon Day' by Lisa Brackmann

Published by Soho Crime, 
20 August 2015. 
ISBN 978-1-61695-345-4

The evocation of modern day China is magnificent.   Our protagonist is Ellie McEnroe who is living in Beijing where she represents a reclusive Chinese artist.  Ellie was a medic in the US forces in the Iraq war but was invalided out when her leg was injured.  She has recovered from the injury but still suffers considerable pain and has memories which are equally painful.    She speaks good Mandarin so she can investigate in China without a language barrier.

Ellie, in a previous adventure, encountered Sydney Cao a very powerful Shanghai billionaire.  He asks her to investigate a Western friend of his son, Guwei, and she becomes involved with the social circles of Guwei and his siblings, TianTian and Meimei.   A waitress is murdered at one of TianTian's parties and Ellie finds that she must investigate this.   The connection of TianTian through his wife to a highpowered official, Yang Junmin, makes Ellie's situation perilous.

The contrasts of China between overwhelming wealth and privilege and squalid conditions is frequently shown - with Ellie moving from the indecent privileges of the Cao family to the poverty of the waitress who had shared a rough room in the basement workings of an apartment block with a fellow immigrant to the city.   She travels, mainly between Beijing and Shanghai, seeing the Chinese situation- high rise flats, old neighbourhoods, building sites- from Hummer limos or fast trains or crowded buses.

Ellie is highly persistent, indeed often foolhardy, but she eventually gets results!  This is an interesting thriller with a very modern background.
Reviewer: Jennifer S. Palmer
There are two previous Ellie McEnroe mysteries and a stand alone thriller by Lisa Brackmann.

Lisa Brackmann has worked as an executive at a major motion picture studio, an issues researcher in a presidential campaign, and was the singer/songwriter/bassist in an LA rock band. Yes, she will do karaoke, and she’s looking to buy a bass ukulele. Her debut novel, Rock Paper Tiger, set on the fringes of the Chinese art world, made several “Best of 2010″ lists, including Amazon’s Top 100 Novels and Top 10 Mystery/Thrillers, and was nominated for the Strand Magazine Critics Award for Best First Novel. Her second novel, Getaway, won the Los Angeles Book Festival Grand Prize and was nominated for the T. Jefferson Parker SCIBA award.

Jennifer Palmer Throughout my reading life crime fiction has been a constant interest; I really enjoyed my 15 years as an expatriate in the Far East, the Netherlands & the USA but occasionally the solace of closing my door to the outside world and sitting reading was highly therapeutic. I now lecture to adults on historical topics including Famous Historical Mysteries.

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