cover image The Sniper

The Sniper

Chang Kuo-Li, trans. from the Chinese by Roddy Flagg. Spiderline, $15.95 trade paper (304p) ISBN 978-1-4870-0857-4

Chang expertly combines intrigue, military action, and humor in his English-language debut. Former Taiwanese marine and French Foreign Legion sniper Alex is living in semiretirement as a cook in an Italian fishing village when an old handler contracts him to assassinate a Taiwanese government adviser in Rome. After successfully completing the mission, Alex becomes the target of snipers who chase him across Europe. In Taipei, hardboiled police detective Wu is investigating the suspicious deaths of two navy officers, one of which the military wants labeled a suicide. Wu begins to suspect a high-level government conspiracy when he discovers ties between those cases and a series of sniper attacks in Europe. Alex and Wu’s paths collide when Wu turns to Taipei’s organized crime underworld for leads, and Li goes looking for his old military network. Tidbits of Taiwanese and Chinese lore and history, along with mouthwatering descriptions of international cuisine, make up for the sometimes convoluted plot. Fans of Stephen Hunter’s Bob Lee Swagger series will want to check out this tense thriller. (May)