A burned corpse is a disturbing mystery for Beijing detective Li Yan until he enlists forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell. Having abandoned a broken life in Chicago for her work, she's as determined as Li to ask difficult questions about the man's death. But some questions have answers they'd rather not hear - facts that others are desperate to conceal. The Firemaker is the first in the acclaimed China series from Peter May, author of Runaway, Entry Island and the internationally bestselling Lewis Trilogy.
©1999 Peter May (P)2015 WF Howes
"Peter May is an author I'd follow to the ends of the earth." (New York Times)
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"Finding the dragon in DNA"
A good summer read, a thriller that develops well with good characters and China as a place for a modern detective team, with lots of background on the Chinese way, and the idiosyncrasies of the communist party capitalist ways.
Entertaining and with lots of twists and surprises to keep the plot moving. Much more I can not reveal because it would spoil the fun and fun it is.
"Great insight into the Chinese psyche and Beijing."
Having lived in Beijing from end 1994 to 2009, I was impressed with Peter May's insight into the North Chinese psyche and Beijing. His description of the culture clash between American and Chinese culture, and the growing understanding, is done with great understanding and respect.
It was with great nostalgia I read the book, partly because the Beijing described had more og less disappeared before I left in 2009, and partly because of the many good years I spent in Beijing.
The insight into the motives behind the actions of the characters, both villains and heroes.
As always an excellent performance, only marked down by a slight mispronunciation of the Chinese words, which isn't fair to mark him down by. :D
A great listen, especially if you miss Beijing as it used to be.
"A really great story - fabulous"
The narrator is important and Peter Forbes nails it. The story is well paced, intreaging and with strong characters. I love a thriller and whilst it could have been a tiny bit predictable it was, for me, an addictive listen.
Peter's Scottish twang appeared but his American and Chinese accents are brilliantly performed, very convincing and even reminded me of people I have met. Possibly my favourite narrator yet!
If you like a travel mystery thriller with atmosphere, strong characters then get this story- hoping you enjoy it as much as I did.
I really do like Peter May's writing, his characters are interesting and likeable, they also react in logical ways to various situations so I am not left thinking 'well he wouldn't say THAT!!'.
The story was well crafted and I found it really difficult to put down. Peter Forbes narrates really well and makes for very pleasant listening - I reckon I am now away to buy number 2 in the series!
Get Dr Margaret Campbell to buck her ideas up! I really can't imagine that a well educated woman would act so tiresomely
Li Yan - excellent characterisation of someone trying to break out of the straight jacket of bureaucracy, but not really sure whether he wants to!
I like all of Peter Forbes reading and his characterisations of all are down well even the tiresome Dr Campbell.
I'm afraid I haven't finished the book, as I got so irritated with the female lead. But...I may come back to it later and in a different mood!
A really enjoyable listen. You knew how the plot was going but there were still many many twists and turns within it that I didn't see coming. Fascinating incite to Chinese life also...Well worth a listen.
"Standard fare: good enough but no better"
The main plus in this book is the attempt to describe aspects of modern China. However, Peter May's series set in the Outer Hebrides was much better at such exposition.
The characterisation in this book is not strong, the development is too predictable, and the plotting not sufficient to compensate for its other failings.
"Not as good as The Lewis Trilogy"
I had high hopes for this new series by the author of the excellent Lewis Trilogy. To judge from this first book I’m not sure I want to continue with further books. Being set in China enables the author to included much about Chinese customs and way of life that is quite interesting, and the basic story is unusual and eventually engaging, but the book is overburdened with extra themes that add little to the main story but slow down the pace: for example an unconvincing and at times cringe-making romance between a Chinese policeman and a feisty American forensic anthropologist. The latter is a too abrasive, rude and unsympathetic a central character for me to want to follow her life in future novels.
Probably because it’s the first in a series there’s a lot of introductory stuff about the characters and their occupations that means what seemed like hours of of listening before the story gets going.
The book isn’t bad: just it could be better with less superfluous baggage.
The reader is good.
"Just as good as the Scottish books"
good story, good narrator - I love Peter May's writing. I am downloading the rest of the series straight away
Excellent story fast paced and gripping.
Great insight into Chinese culture. Well read looking forward to the next one.
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