Friday, December 4, 2009

The Runner-Peter May

The Runner
Peter May
Poisoned Pen, Feb 2010, $24.95
ISBN: 9781590586044

As China prepares to host the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the country is filled with pride and excitement even though traffic will be stopped for the Games. However, as the countdown begins to the contests, gold medal contender Sui Mingsham is found dead by the pool; an apparent suicide. Soon afterward an Olympic weightlifter is found dead. Three more top level athletes have also died.

Pressure is on Beijing police Section Chief Li Yan to solve ASAP what appears to be the work of a serial killer as five accidents/suicides seems improbable before nations pull out of the Games out of fear for the safety of their athletes. He asks his pregnant American fiancée forensic pathologist Margaret Campbell for help on solving the deaths that he believes are murders. Complicating their lives is his father and her mother have come to Beijing for the wedding.

This is a great entry in one of the best police procedurals on the market today. The story line is faster than Usain Bolt can run the 100 yet also contains a deep look at Beijing on the brink of hosting the Olympics. The lead couple is a terrific pair as their cross Pacific romance grows stronger. Fans will relish this super saga while seeking the backlist that includes The Firemaker, Snakehead and Chinese Whispers (which apparently occurs after The Runner since the lead pair has a baby son in that tale).

Harriet Klausner