A tinted review in adult Forecasts indicates a book that's of exceptional importance to our readers, but that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.

THE MASTER OF RAIN

Tom Bradby, Author . Doubleday $26 (464p) ISBN 978-0-385-50397-6

A tinted review in adult Forecasts indicates a book that's of exceptional importance to our readers, but that hasn't received a starred or boxed review.

THE MASTER OF RAINTom Bradby. Doubleday, $26 (448p) ISBN 0-385-50397-0

British TV newsman Bradby used his time in Hong Kong to do some research on 1920s-era Shanghai, the result of which is this hefty first novel of corruption, debauchery and decaying colonialism. Richard Field, a young policeman from Yorkshire, lands a job in the Special Branch of Shanghai's police department circa 1926. Honest but naïve, the Englishman falls into a snake pit of corruption and rivalry, revealed when a Russian prostitute is savagely murdered by a maniac. The trail leads to local gangster "Pockmark" Lu Huang, a powerful opium smuggler; when evidence begins disappearing and mysterious cash deposits are made to his bank account, Field knows the department is dirty, but can't get support from anyone except his sidekick Caprisi (a pugnacious American transplant who cut his teeth fighting Capone in Chicago). What's more, Field falls hard for the dead Russian's neighbor, Natasha Medvedev, who is one of "Lu's girls" and therefore, as Field discovers, highly likely to meet a fate similar to her neighbor's, which Field learns is only one in a string of such homicides. But when Field's investigation threatens Lu's opium ring, Lu lashes out at the foreign police force and the body count rises precipitously. The novel works better as a multilayered mystery than as a period piece, as the background historical issues are obscured by the more modern focus on frenzied sex and death. Likewise, the obvious film noir look the author goes for is undermined by the late 20th-century serial-killer shtick he injects into the plot. Despite the periodic glimpse of Western elitism and building Chinese sympathy for communism, there is remarkably little use of local color (language, food, local customs) to satisfy readers of historical thrillers, though the mystery plot doesn't disappoint. Major ad/promo; author tour. (Apr. 16)

Reviewed on: 01/07/2002
Release date: 04/01/2002
Show other formats
FORMATS
Hardcover - 479 pages - 978-0-593-04534-3
Ebook - 978-0-385-50410-2
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-375-71333-0
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7540-0895-8
Mass Market Paperbound - 588 pages - 978-0-552-14746-0
Open Ebook - 978-1-4000-7552-2
X
Stay ahead with
Tip Sheet!
Free newsletter: the hottest new books, features and more
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Only $18.95/month for Digital Access
or $20.95 for Print+Digital Access!
X
Email Address

Password

Log In Lost Password

PW has integrated its print and digital subscriptions, offering exciting new benefits to subscribers, who are now entitled to both the print edition and the digital editions of PW (online or via our app). For instructions on how to set up your accout for digital access, click here. For more information, click here.

The part of the site you are trying to access is now available to subscribers only. Subscribers: to set up your digital subscription with the new system (if you have not done so already), click here. To subscribe, click here.

Email pw@pubservice.com with questions.

Not Registered? Click here.