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Snakehead: A China Thriller    by Peter May order for
by Peter May
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2009 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Knowing that Peter May's China Thrillers sell like proverbial hotcakes, Poisoned Pen Press has taken it upon themselves to see that these exciting and thrilling books stay in print. They have started reissuing them and Snakehead is the fourth in this very popular series.

After working for a number of years in China, American pathologist Margaret Campbell is back in the States, working out of Houston. Beijing detective Li Yan is sent to Houston to investigate the deaths of ninety Chinese found suffocated in the back of a large truck. Li walks into a sticky personal situation when he finds the pathologist in charge is his ex lover, who fled China and him. Trying to find out who is behind this $100 million industry of smuggling illegal aliens into the United States involves both Li and Campbell to carry the investigation to its exciting conclusion.

The kicker in this intriguing tale is that each of these dead bodies had been injected when they were alive with a deadly virus similar to what caused worldwide death in 1918 the Spanish flu. Germ warfare is about to be inflicted on the world after a certain trigger. Which pushes the suspense to the next register. Snakehead has a tight plot that gets more horrifying as the pages turn. Not only thrilling which it is but it makes one think. Peripheral characters push the storyline along at a good pace.

A note about the author: Peter May won the Scottish Young Journalist of the Year Award when only 21! His first novel was published when he was 26. He became one of the leading dramatists for Scotland's television. Giving up the big screen, he now devotes his time to novels, which is good news for us. Because of his outstanding China Thriller series, he was made an honorary member by the Chinese Crime Writer's Association (the only Westerner to receive that accolade). I applaud the Association for having the good sense to include him among their members.

Paperbacks of May's The Firemaker, The Fourth Sacrifice, and The Killing Room are available now, with The Runner and Chinese Whispers to be published in hardcover versions. Poisoned Pen Press also publishes Peter May's Enzo MacLeod thrillers which take place in France. They are all too good to miss.

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