Series: Inspector Lu Fei Mysteries #1
Author: Brian Klingborg
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Released: May 4, 2021
Received: Goodreads Giveaways
Thief of Souls is the start of a new mystery series (Inspector Lu Fei Mysteries #1), written by Brian Klingborg. It’s the first time (I think) that I’ve read a murder/mystery series based in China, so I was really excited to dive into this novel.
A brutal murder has occurred in a rural village in Northern China. While everyone is shocked by its brutality, most people are more interested in gossip than justice. Fortunately, Inspector Lu Fei is not one of those people.
Unfortunately, Inspector Lu Fei is facing pressure on all sides to merely close the case and walk away. The people have made up their minds on whether justice was deserved, and the government isn’t interested either. Yet Lu Fei can’t walk away from this one.
“On the night the young woman’s corpse is discovered, hollowed out like a birchbark canoe, Inspector Lu Fei sits alone in the Red Louts bar, determined to get gloriously drunk.”
I’ve read many mysteries over the years where I was fascinated by the investigation while annoyed by the protagonist. That’s the case here, though admittedly, I wasn’t incredibly annoyed with Inspector Lu Fei. I just didn’t like him all that much.
But if he gets the job done, that hardly matters, does it? It was fascinating to see this tale (the murder of which felt very familiar in some ways) in such a different setting. The cultural and political implications of it all completely changed the story, at least for me.
I should mention that the violence within this book does get fairly…detailed. I tend to assume the worst when it comes to graphic descriptions when reading a murder/mystery, but it still feels like a good idea to warn about here.
Overall, I found that the inclusion of all the details (specifically the ones I mentioned earlier) helped to raise Thief of Souls up higher in my mind. Still, I found myself torn on how to rate it. It’s somewhere between a three and a four, and for systems where I can use half stars, I’d feel very comfortable with a three and a half star rating.
Thanks to Minotaur Books and #Goodreads for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.