Mysterious Book Report No. 388
by John Dwaine McKenna
Death Notice, (Anchor Books, PB, $16.00, 301 pages, ISBN 978-0-525-43594-5) by Zhou Haohui, is the most fiendishly clever, diabolically complex and wickedly inventive novel to ever cross our desk here at the Mysterious Book Report!
The mystery begins and ends in the city of Chengdu, the dynamic capitol of central China’s Sichuan Province, where, after an interlude of eighteen years, a serial killer has reemerged. He calls himself Eumenides—after the Furies of ancient Greek tragedy—and he is a vigilante, fighting against a corrupt legal system in which the guilty are able to buy their way out of their crimes. (Sound familiar?) The twist however, in the ages old story of a lone individual setting himself up in the role of judge, jury and executioner, is that Eumenides publishes an on-line manifesto giving the malefactor’s name, purported crime and date of death, naming himself as the executioner, a couple of days before the actual event takes place. The police, having re-formed the 4/18 Task Force under Captains Han, Xion and Pei to hunt the killer down, are going out of their minds trying to stop the slaughter. But some how, some way, the manifestos, the executions, and the humiliation of the police continues. The wily and brutal Eumenides is always one step ahead of the 4/18 Task Force . . . taunting them . . . always anticipating their every move in a deadly game of cat-and-mouse that leads to a searing conclusion which readers will never see coming!
Death Notice has it all: good, bad and downright ugly characters, enough mystery, murder, truth, lies, perfidy, honor, nobility and savagery to satisfy any and all readers. It’s already a phenomenon in China, having been viewed 2.4 billon times online. That’s not a typo. B, as in billions.
The MBR would like to thank Mike Durell at the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City for bringing this sinister masterpiece to our attention, and let everyone know that two more installments are on the way as soon as they’re translated. Death Notice will soon be a worldwide best seller in our opinion, and the MBR vows to be at the front of the line to buy, read and review each one. “This we swear.”
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