cover image The Magistrate: A Lu Fei Mystery

The Magistrate: A Lu Fei Mystery

Brian Klingborg. Minotaur, $28 (320p) ISBN 978-1-250-85501-5

In Klingborg’s sharply detailed third Lu Fei mystery (after 2022’s Wild Prey), the detective—now banished from his post in Harbin to a rural county—is called in to investigate the incineration of a Korean gangster. Fei quickly uncovers that the slaying is part of an increasingly gruesome pattern targeting a corrupt group of senior Chinese civil servants. Meanwhile, an avenging angel named Hak is operating in Harbin, seeking to liberate sex trafficking victims who’ve been kidnapped and smuggled into the country from North Korea. Lu and Hak eventually join forces and the action goes from traditional sleuthing to hyperviolent revenge fantasy as they take down common enemies together. The conclusion is expertly rendered, and Klingborg does an exceptional job of illuminating Xi Jinping’s China to outside observers without being pedantic or heavy-handed. This is sure to earn the series new readers. Agent: Bob Diforio, D4EO Literary. (May)