Murder In Tiananmen Square by Jack Murphy

Murder In Tiananmen Square

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A no-nonsense, maverick cop and his novice but dependable partner navigate government corruption, changing alliances and inner demons to solve a murder mystery.
Superintendent Lee Bang is a tough detective that does things his own way. Lee isn’t formally educated like his constituents or as concerned with the opinions of others. While his roughness doesn’t earn him many friends, he is an efficient and dedicated agent. Lee’s young partner, Constable Sun Ming, is a slower study than Lee. Sun’s loyalty and work ethic, however, prove to be invaluable assets on the job. The partners’ intelligence, intuition and strength are put to the test when they are assigned a particularly puzzling case. An unidentified body has been found in Tiananmen Square, mangled by multiple vehicle tracks. Despite the gruesomeness of the crime, there seem to be no witnesses and few reliable clues. As the heroes press on in their work, they discover that perhaps things aren’t what they seem, and the very people leading their search could be the ones with the most to hide. Murphy pulls out all the stops of your classic maverick tough guy story down to the protagonist’s relationships with women. Lee’s rebellious prowess naturally attracts all of the women in his life. However, he thinks of them merely as perfunctory tools. About the office secretary, he ruminates, “And add that you’re still pissed at me because our one-night stand never turned into a two-nighter.” However, Lee eventually gains a love interest whose affections are more challenging and alluring. She becomes a crucial aid in the solving of his case. The plot takes so many twists and turns that it’s impossible to know who is and isn’t on the side of the story’s heroes. However, Murphy peppers the story with plenty of dramatic metaphors to keep the reader amused, such as, “The scream from the man was very high-pitched, like a hamster in pain.” Ultimately though, the resolution of the mystery leaves much to be desired in terms of logic and clarity.
Reads like a 1980s action movie with improbable action sequences, dramatic one-liners and conspiracy.
Publisher: Dog Ear Publisher
Program: Kirkus Indie
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