Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
Although this reads like a dystopian thriller set in an alternative reality, it actually takes place in the polluted big cities, scenic small villages, computer gaming communities, artist hangouts, and dissident networks of modern China, with flashbacks to Ellie McEnroe’s days as a nineteen year old medic during the Iraq War when she saw things that weren’t meant for her eyes, things that shouldn’t have happened and continue to haunt her. She has a war wound that still gives her pain and a husband who brought her to China but left her, so she’s stumbling through her days and drinking too much, but when thuggish, scary officials start pursuing her after her sometime boyfriend disappears, leaving behind only a cryptic note asking her to manage his artwork, Ellie has to get her act together enough to get out of Beijing and figure out what to do. The detailed, colorful, behind-the-scenes glimpses of life in modern China are both fascinating and transporting, really setting this book apart, and Ellie’s wry wit, sense of duty, and impulsive bravery in spite of her damaged body and soul make his fast-paced suspenseful novel a joy to read.