Ghost Hero. Book Review

ghost_heroGHOST HERO by S. J. Rozan

Ebury Press, p/b, 336pp, £7.99

Reviewed by Stewart Horn

Chau Chan, the great Chinese painter, died in the gunfire of the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989.  But twenty years on three new paintings are found, apparently painted since the artist’s supposed death.  Are they real?  Is Chan still alive and hiding somewhere?  And why are so many people interested – collectors, academics, gangsters, governments, and Chinese-American PI Lydia Chin?

Red herrings are thrown about like smarties, and the drip-feeding of facts is expertly paced to maintain interest.  Rozan’s prose is good and readable, her characters engaging, and a lot of the story is moved forward by dialogue – the banter between her three central characters is consistently amusing.  The cultural details are convincing and entertaining too, and Lydia’s mother steals any scene she’s in.

For my taste, the end is perhaps too neatly tied up: the baddies suffer and the goodies live happily ever after, but the ride is worth it.

A lot of contemporary crime fiction is dark, intense and a bit dreary, so it’s nice to have something with a lighter touch.  This book will keep you on your toes without depressing you or giving you nightmares.

Well written and lots of fun.