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THE RUNNER by Peter May

THE RUNNER

By Peter May

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-59058-604-4
Publisher: Poisoned Pen

China’s medal prospects wane as six Olympians perish within a month.

Three members of China’s sprint-relay team are killed in a car crash. A cyclist dies in a freak swimming accident. A weightlifter succumbs in flagrante delicto with the wife of a member of the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee. And a champion swim competitor hangs himself from the practice diving platform. A suicide and a series of tragic accidents? Li Yan, Section Chief of the Beijing Municipal Police, thinks not. He calls on his pregnant lover, American pathologist Margaret Campbell, to oversee and review the autopsies. Why did everyone except the weightlifter have shaved heads? Why did the bodies show thickening of the microvasculature? The answers may be connected to other riddles, like the burglary of a certain photography shop and the attempt by world-class runner Dai Lili to make contact with Margaret. But solutions are stymied by governmental censuring of Li for his relationship with a foreigner, the familial upheaval caused by the xenophobia of both Li’s father and Margaret’s mother and the duplicity of Li’s second-in-command, Assistant Deputy Section Chief Tao. Readers puzzled by the oddly paced relationship between Li and Margaret should note that the events in this fifth episode precede those in the sixth (Chinese Whispers, 2009, etc.).

Despite the peculiar chronology of American publication, each installment of the Chinese Thrillers series provides rewarding views of the Beijing landscape and insights into cross-cultural relationships.