“The Fourth Sacrifice” is the second in Peter May’s China series, but it is not necessary to have read the first one, “The Firemaker” to enjoy this one. There is enough background information as part of the story that new readers will be able to jump in quickly. Margaret Campbell is still in mourning. Everywhere she looks she sees reminders of just one more failure in her life. Just as she is about to leave China, she is asked to perform an autopsy on a state department employee. This pulls her into yet another series of horrible murders.
“The Fourth Sacrifice” is set primarily in set primarily in Beijing and as always, May brings an incredible sense of place to the story. While the history and cultural references at times “slow” the progress of the plot, the descriptions pull readers into the city, and make it impossible for the book to have taken place anywhere else. Although some plot points were somewhat predictable, I still kept turning the pages to see how things moved along.
I received a copy of “The Fourth Sacrifice” from Peter May and Quercus. I love May’s writing style and the incredible sense of place that all his books suggest. While this series does not top the Lewis trilogy series, The China Thrillers are consistent and compelling. I certainly have enjoyed the first two books. I am glad that the series is being re-printed, and I have the next one on my “to read” list.