A British police inspector is sent to an exotic land to catch a serial killer.
Murder is so uncommon in Mongolia that when one occurs, the government accepts help from England in the person of Chief Inspector Drew McLeish of Manchester. A severely mutilated body, missing both head and hands, has been found on a dark urban side street. Nergui, former head of the local Serious Crimes Squad, had been pleased to leave behind the increasingly mean streets of Mongolia’s capital, Ulan Baatar, for a desk job with the Ministry of Justice. But the brutal murder requires him to return to his old post, where he works uneasily with his successor, the brash and ambitious Doripalam. No sooner has Drew been filled in on the murder than a second occurs on the outskirts of the city and a third in a luxury hotel room. At first, Doripalam bristles at Nergui’s involvement in the case, but as the stakes are raised, he’s secretly relieved that any negative fallout will land on his old boss rather than himself. Similar mutilations of the three corpses lead the trio to conclude that they’re tracking a serial killer. Identifying the hotel room victim as British geologist Ian Ransom provides a starting point.
The mystery in Walters’s debut lacks distinction, but his prose is sure and his vivid portrait of a largely unknown culture lays a solid groundwork for future installments.