Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Mystery Book Review: The Runner by Peter May

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of The Runner by Peter May. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

The Runner by Peter May

A Li Yan and Margaret Campbell Mystery

Poisoned Pen Press (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 1-59058-604-2 (1590586042)
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-604-4 (9781590586044)
Publication Date: February 2010
List Price: $24.95

Review: Would you be willing to give up a job that you love for the woman that you love, who is also expecting your child? That is the choice that Li Yan has to face in Peter May ‘s The Runner, the fifth novel in the China Thriller series.

Set in Beijing, China, we learn more about the volatile relationship between Li Yan, a head investigator for the Beijing Police Department, and Dr. Margaret Campbell, a pathologist who recently left her job as the head coroner of Brown County Texas to be with Li in China. Li and Margaret are planning their wedding. However, marriage is forbidden between a Chinese law official and a non-Chinese citizen. Li will lose his job when he marries Margaret, a fact that he has not chosen to tell her. Amidst the wedding plans, Li is called on to solve the mysterious deaths of five Chinese athletes. These deaths seem unrelated at first, but is five top athletes dying in one month just a coincidence? Lily, a top female runner attempts to contact Dr. Campbell because she has something important to tell her. But Lily disappears before she has a chance to speak with her, and Margaret wonders if the information she had was related to the deaths of the Chinese athletes. Also, someone is leaking information to the press. Is someone in Li’s department out to get his job?

Add to this mix Li’s belligerent father, who blames his son for leaving him after his mother’s death. Margaret’s prejudiced mom also helps to add to the stress that Li and Margaret feel. How will these two prospective in-laws manage to get along for the wedding? Will the wedding take place before Margaret delivers their baby? Will Li sacrifice his career to marry Margaret? You will have to read The Runner to find out.

I enjoyed this book and would give it five out of five stars. The Runner gave Margaret an important role in solving the murders. I could easily empathize with the pre-wedding stress she was going through trying to keep her mother, future father-in-law, and fiancé happy. She did all of this while being eight months pregnant! The conclusion kept me guessing until the very end, and I was wrong about who Li should and should not trust. So, if you love a good mystery set in a foreign country, then The Runner is for you!

Special thanks to Ruth Miller for contributing her review of The Runner and to Poisoned Pen Press for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2010 — Ruth Miller — All Rights Reserved — Reprinted with Permission

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Synopsis (from the publisher): A top chinese swimmer kills himself of the eve of an international event -- shattering his country's hopes of victory against the Americans. An Olympic weightlifter dies in the arms of his Beijing mistress -- a scandal to be hushed up at the highest level. But the suicides were murder, and both men's deaths are connected to an inexplicable series of "accidents" which has taken the lives of some of China's best athletes.

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