Lu Fei is a graduate of China’s top police college but he’s been assigned to a sleepy backwater town in northern China, where almost nothing happens and the theft of a few chickens represents a major crime wave. That is until a young woman is found dead, her organs removed, and joss paper stuffed in her mouth. The CID in Beijing—headed by a rising political star—is on the case but in an increasingly authoritarian China, prosperity and political stability are far more important than solving the murder of an insignificant village girl. As such, the CID head is interested in pinning the crime on the first available suspect rather than wading into uncomfortable truths, leaving Lu Fei on his own.
As Lu digs deeper into the gruesome murder, he finds himself facing old enemies and creating new ones in the form of local Communist Party bosses and corrupt business interests. Despite these rising obstacles, Lu remains determined to find the real killer, especially after he links the murder to other unsolved homicides. But the closer he gets to the heart of the mystery, the more he puts himself and his loved ones in danger.
As Lu pursues the clues and the potential serial killer in Thief of Souls, we are caught up in his processes and his ability to find the connections.
Early on, Lu is especially drawn to a young woman who runs a local bar, and while he is learning more about her, he begins to realize that she might also be in danger.
While he finds answers to one mystery after the other, he draws closer to the solution.
Like the trail of clues Lu follows, the reader begins to zero in on the guilty party, even as the danger intensifies. I was fascinated by the spiritual elements of the story. 4.5 stars.
My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley