"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Master of Rain

TITLE: The Master of Rain
AUTHOR: Rom Bradby

Idealism meets pragmatism in Bradby's literate historical mystery, and the confrontation ends in a tie. Richard Field, an ambitious and idealistic newly-minted officer appointed to the international police in Shanghai in 1926, has to battle both the demons of his past and barely suppressed anger at the wrongs in the world to help find the sadistic killer of a young Russian woman working as a prostitute.

Shanghai is supposedly controlled by international colonizing forces, but it's a Chinese warlord who really holds the power, through opium, bribes, and prostitution in a city where corruption is the norm, communism is encroaching, and nothing is as it seems and no one can be trusted. When Field falls for the victim's friend, a Russian woman in as much peril as the dead girl, he's drawn deeper and deeper into a maelstrom of lies and deceit. A serial killer seems to be working in the city, someone who likely is being protected by the warlord, if not the warlord, himself.

Bradby has researched his subject (I now want to know more about the time period in China -- my history classes are too far in the past!) and writes in a flowing, literary style that really pulled me in and made me feel as if I were there, across the globe, all those years ago. I hope to read more by this author; I already have his The White Russian here waiting for me.

On a side note, I'm suspending Booked by 3 for the rest of the year, because I can't seem to concentrate on it right now. I've fallen behind on pretty much everything, mostly since falling and hurting my shoulder in July. I'm doing physical therapy for it now, but it still hurts and mobility is still limited and it's been frustrating. At least, I can type! And I finally finished this book, after over a month. Maybe now I can get back on track in that regard, but I don't know that I'll manage an average of a book a month this year. Unless I read some very short ones. ;)