The Firemaker

By: Peter May
Narrated by: Peter Forbes
Length: 13 hrs and 54 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (129 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A grotesquely burned corpse found in a city park is a troubling mystery for Beijing detective Li Yan. Yan, devoted to his career as a means of restoring the respect his family lost during the Cultural Revolution, needs outside help if he is to break the case.

The unidentified cadaver in turn provides a welcome distraction for forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell. Campbell, married to her work and having left America and her broken past behind, throws herself into the investigation and before long uncovers a bizarre anomaly.

An unlikely partnership develops between Li and Campbell as they follow the resulting lead. A fiery and volatile chemistry ignites, exposing not only their individual demons, but an even greater evil - a conspiracy that threatens their lives, as well as those of millions of others.

©1999, 2018 Peter May (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"The Firemaker is a remarkably detailed picture of daily life in Beijing with all of its Big Brother rules and rewarded propensity to report all activities which may fall out of the ordinary. If a look into Chinese culture is your quest, look no further. if you like a good romance, it's right here. And if you can't resist a whodunit, yes, the murders do get solved. It's messy, it's unexpected, and it's all a part of an extremely well-written book." (Danny Lindsey, Killer Nashville)
 

What listeners say about The Firemaker

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worst book I've listened to this year

When I read the review I thought I would enjoy listening to a detective story set in China with a love interest. I was wrong. I like the China part but the characters are truly lame and range from the beautiful brilliant blonde pathologist who doesn't wear a bra and the handsome Chinese detective who everyone loves and respects to the street food cart lady who reads French philosophy and speaks perfect English as she makes pancakes on her cart. The crime plot is boring and the love story is juvenile....puerile as though written by a fourteen year old boy or a man who doesn't know any women. The descriptions of her lovely white body and blond pubic hair which the author interjects into the story on a regular basis is something I am having a hard time erasing from my memory. I do not recommend this book. I have two hours left in the book and have no interest in finding out who did it.

1 person found this helpful

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Loved it!

I wasn't sure about this one, but the content looked like something I'd like, so I took a chance. So glad I did. It was fantastic. It's really a love story cached in a police adventure, set in post-Mao China. There were moments when I thought the descriptions of the growing relationship might venture into the saccharine, but it never did. I was taken in completely by the love story, and that doesn't always happen for me when I read about growing relationships in books. By the end, all you want is for the couple to be able to be together, and their anxiety and increasingly insurmountable obstacles become painful to read about.

The stakes are high in this book, for both the love story and the adventure/mystery, and it all feels even more poignant given the setting. The backdrop of the aftermath of China's cultural revolution is artfully described throughout the book. Every aspect of the story is rich with information that I never got from school studies of the subject. I love books like this, where you learn something as well as enjoying the read, and you don't even realize you are learning until you come away from the book with a satisfied feeling of accomplishment. The ending seemed to suggest a sequel, so when I learned that this is part of a series, I was delighted. I plan to binge the entire series immediately. Peter May is an excellent writer, and I'm also inspired to look at his entire body of work.

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Kept My Attention

I enjoyed the Beijing setting and learning more about Chinese culture. Characters were interesting and well developed. Bits of humor here and there added to the enjoyment. Narrator did a good job.