By Peter May
Poisoned Pen Press
The Olympic Games have changed in the recent past. Now we have witnessed athletes who deal with drug tests, hormonal injections, and a variety of methods to increase their personal performance. With so many new advancements in medicine, how are we ever certain that an athlete’s scores are genuine rather than the result of some medical enhancement?
First Li Yan is asked to investigate the death of one of the top Chinese swimmers who apparently committed suicide. It just doesn’t feel right to him. Then added to that, one of the top Chinese weight lifters dies on top of his mistress, who happens to me married to a high-ranking Chinese official. Also are the previous deaths of other athletes in a car accident. Why are these Chinese athletes dying and why?
Fortunately, Li Yan is engaged to an American pathologist, Dr. Margaret Campbell who begins to assist in the autopsies. The two often are working in complete opposite directions while attempting to discover connections between the athletes. The skills of both of these professionals are needed to discover the correct solution to these deaths.
The strength of THE RUNNER is the human relationships. The trials of Margaret and Li Yan is having their parents meet, Margaret’s pregnancy, their upcoming nuptials, and the morality and diplomacy of the Chinese government make this novel exceptional and more than just a mystery. This is true storytelling.
THE RUNNER is a fast-paced engaging novel. Personally, I am not well-acquainted with many of Chinese descent and especially not Chinese names. I found that making a character list helped since I am not personally accustomed to the numerous two letter and one syllable names. For me, it was easier to distinguish and continue the characters.
Peter May who is a Scot has been made an honorary member of the Chinese Crime Writers’ Association and the only westerners who is a member. His approach to the evolution of the Chinese people in their emergence of becoming a world power again, is unique in his understanding of the people with their challenges and triumphs. I look forward to further novels by Peter May.
Teri Davis April 3, 2010