“Wild Prey”

Exotic location, interesting characters, and a big problem

“Wild Prey” opens with a troubling prologue that entices readers and hints at the dramatic events to come. Two men are “harvesting” the saleable parts of an animal. It is dangerous, but the greater the danger, the bigger the prize.

The story continues in the first-person present tense narrative of Inspector Lu Fei, Harbin, People’s Republic of China. Law enforcement in the People’s Republic is decidedly different; few citizens have guns, but a pot of soup can inflict great pain. The police are focused and detail-oriented because multiple cases must be solved at the same time; there is a lot of work. The current important case involves a conspiracy to smuggle exotic animal parts from the nearby jungles of Myanmar. This is both “high priority” and sensitive because rich and powerful people are involved.

The police also must be available to help those in need, and Meirong is one such person. Her sister is missing, no notice, no contact, just gone.  The girl may be on vacation, in the hands of human traffickers, or something worse.  Meirong sits at the police station, waiting for answers. Every day she sits; she waits, and she will remain there until she gets an answer, any answer. This is not the problem it seems to be on the surface; the sister’s job connects the two cases. She works at a high-end restaurant famous for not only their exotic meats and dishes with medicinal properties, but also for their “off menu” items.

The action unfolds at a deliberate and planned pace. Readers learn the details of each case as the characters uncover information. There is a maze of deception that has to be navigated to find the truth. Everyday life events, personal interactions, professional concerns, cultural experiences, and occasional poems create a unique narrative.  

I received a review copy of “Wild Prey” from Brian Klingborg, Minotaur Books, and Macmillan Publishing.  This is the second book in the “Inspector Lu Fei Mystery” series. Any information needed from the past is included as part of the current storyline, and personal connections give characters depth and complexity.

“Wild Prey” is now available in print and as an e-book from independent bookstores, online booksellers, retail stores, public libraries and anywhere you get your books.