Reviews

Thief of Souls, by Brian Klingborg

jocy_'s review

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dark mysterious sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75


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jdiedrichs628's review

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mysterious medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes

3.75

ladyofbooks's review

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2.0

Dnf. I just couldn't find myself enjoying it. A lot of little issues and a lot of dislike for the main character. Love the cover tho. Made it about 120 pages in before setting it down for good. A police procedural where apparently search warrants are thoroughly forgotten/ignored and the suspects aren't granted lawyers until well after the fact. Most of what Li Fei had done would be considered very not by the book. I get this is China but come on. 2.5 ⭐

scenmoyo's review

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dark mysterious tense fast-paced

4.75

quirkycatsfatstacks's review

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4.0

Thief of Souls is the start of a new mystery series (Inspector Lu Fei Mysteries #1), written by Brian Klingborg. It's the first time (I think) that I've read a murder/mystery series based in China, so I was really excited to dive into this novel.

A brutal murder has occurred in a rural village in Northern China. While everyone is shocked by its brutality, most people are more interested in gossip than justice. Fortunately, Inspector Lu Fei is not one of those people.

Unfortunately, Inspector Lu Fei is facing pressure on all sides to merely close the case and walk away. The people have made up their minds on whether justice was deserved, and the government isn't interested either. Yet Lu Fei can't walk away from this one.

“On the night the young woman’s corpse is discovered, hollowed out like a birchbark canoe, Inspector Lu Fei sits alone in the Red Louts bar, determined to get gloriously drunk.”

I've read many mysteries over the years where I was fascinated by the investigation while annoyed by the protagonist. That's the case here, though admittedly, I wasn't incredibly annoyed with Inspector Lu Fei. I just didn't like him all that much.

But if he gets the job done, that hardly matters, does it? It was fascinating to see this tale (the murder of which felt very familiar in some ways) in such a different setting. The cultural and political implications of it all completely changed the story, at least for me.

I should mention that the violence within this book does get fairly...detailed. I tend to assume the worst when it comes to graphic descriptions when reading a murder/mystery, but it still feels like a good idea to warn about here.

Overall, I found that the inclusion of all the details (specifically the ones I mentioned earlier) helped to raise Thief of Souls up higher in my mind. Still, I found myself torn on how to rate it. It's somewhere between a three and a four, and for systems where I can use half stars, I'd feel very comfortable with a three and a half star rating.

Thanks to Minotaur Books and #Goodreads for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

cloudzz's review

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adventurous dark emotional mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

namaste_lh's review against another edition

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dark tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

3.75

kaleenazag's review

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3.0

Thief of Souls is a debut and new crime fiction series by Brian Klingborg that follows Lu Fei, a newly graduated police officer in China. After a young woman is found dead with her organs removed, Lu is determined to try and find the true killer, but the CID head is determined to pin it on the first available suspect.

The storyline of this book was intriguing to me; however, I found myself struggling to really become hooked and invested in the characters. I did find some of the political aspects and how the police force in China differs from that of the United States interesting (unsure how true this depiction is though) The book sped up a bit towards the end, but overall, I felt ‘meh’ towards it. I’ll look for the next book to come out by this author, but am undecided on if I will pick it up or not.

yetanothersusan's review

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4.0

How many sweet spots did this book hit for me? Lots! First, mystery is my favorite genre and this is a good one! Second, I love learning things when I read and Mr. Klingborg deftly weaves Chinese history throughout the book without being condescending to the reader. It was informative and interesting. Third, I really liked the characters. Inspector Lu wants to do a good job and find the killer. He does not like the political nature of being a police officer. His dislike of it is almost political in its own way. I am excited to see there is a second book coming out soon!

Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for a copy of the book. This review is my own opinion.

mellambert's review

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3.0

A solid serial killer mystery. Very atmospheric, but a little heavy handed.