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Le quatrième sacrifice by Peter May

Le quatrième sacrifice

by Peter May

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1529111,903 (3.75)12
Title:Le quatrième sacrifice
Authors:Peter May
Info:Actes Sud, Mass Market Paperback, 441 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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The Fourth Sacrifice by Peter May



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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The Fourth Sacrifice by Peter May is a recommended thriller and the sequel to The Firemaker.

On the eve of her departure for home, Dr. Margaret Campbell, a forensic pathologist from the United States, is asked to work with the Chinese police and conduct the autopsy of a beheaded man. The man, Yuan Tao, was a naturalized citizen of the United States and he was also apparently the fourth beheaded man in a string of ritual murders that could indicate the work of a serial killer. Margaret finds herself working with police Deputy Section Chief Li Yan, with whom she previously had a romantic relationship, and she is bitter at his perceived rejection of her. She doesn't know that Li was ordered to end his relationship with her. To further complicate matters archeologist Michael Zimmerman, as he introduces Margaret to the treasures of China, is making it clear to her that he is very interested in a relationship with her.

The plot mixes mystery, romance and history in the character driven narrative. The quality of the writing is good. May does do a great job setting the place and provides a lot of excellent information about and background for the Chinese culture. He provides the descriptions and background to create a total picture of China. Aside from the cultural references, there are little nit-picky details and lack of details about other topics that annoyed me. I could chose to set them aside and simply enjoy the story, which is predictable, but moves along quickly (when not trying to educate us about Chinese culture which does slow down the forward movement of the plot).

Since The Fourth Sacrifice is character driven, Margaret presents a bit of a problem, as she is a very unlikable character. Now, I haven't read the first novel, so perhaps she is more personable in that novel and the broken relationship is what drives her negative attitude. While I enjoyed this novel, it didn't leave me wanting to read the first one.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Quercus.
http://www.shetreadssoftly.com/2018/05/the-fourth-sacrifice.html ( )
  SheTreadsSoftly | May 2, 2018 |
Li Yan has been told that he must end his relationship with Margaret Campbell and to distract him he is involved in the investigation of a gruesome series of beheadings. Margaret is keen to leave Beijing but when an American citizen becomes the fourth victim of the beheadings she is asked to stay by the American Embassy. Her investigations show that the fourth victim was the perpetrator of the previous three attacks, so why was he killed, and by whom? Meanwhile glamorous TV historian Michael Zimmerman is in China to make a film about the discovery of the Terracotta Warriors and Margaret has an excuse to move on from Li.

This is another excellent novel from May featuring the juxtaposition between Eastern and Western cultures in China. The inclusion of the effects of the Cultural Revolution and the impact of China's 'one child' policy are key aspects of this story and are handled with sensitivity. My only complaint is that I found the actual conclusion of the plot a little hurried and far less believable than all that went before. May is a talented writer of thrillers. ( )
  pluckedhighbrow | Jun 26, 2017 |
Second in a rereleased crime trilogy set in China. I was pretty sure I knew who did it about 70% through. All the lovely Chinese detail (lots of food and scenery) was a bit too much after that point. I was pretty much urging the two protagonists to "Get on with it!" Add some really stupid behavior by the previously fairly smart American pathologist (yes, a woman - how did you guess) and I decided I wouldn't be reading the final book. The obligatory 'clever use of computers' scene really shows the book's age. Meh ( )
  charl08 | Aug 21, 2016 |
This is another winner of a read from Peter May. His writing ability continues to amaze me. His characters feel so alive that you tend to miss them between books. His plots are so intense and always packed with surprises until the very end. Another cliffhanger in the relationship of Li Chen and Margaret has me looking forward to the next installment. ( )
  EadieB | Jan 19, 2016 |
I think that Peter May is a very good thriller writer, but that the China series is not his best work. There is a lot of detailed research evident in this novel; I now know a lot more about the Terracotta Warriors than I did last week; but I not enamoured of the lead characters and the plot is a bit clunky. Not unenjoyable, but not memorable. I'll concentrate on May's other books and series before returning to this one again. ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312364644, Hardcover)

Margaret Campbell had finally decided to leave Beijing---and the man she loved---and return home to the States. She had first come to Beijing to conduct a seminar on her specialty, forensic pathology, for the city's police. The invitation turned out to ask for more than she expected; she was thrust into the search for a murderer. This was how she met and came to fall in love with the Beijing police detective Li Yan. Although they began as enemies, the attraction between them was overwhelming---until personal tragedies pulled them apart.
Now the police need an answer to a series of gruesome murders. Four men have been killed; the first three were Chinese and the fourth man was born in China but became an American in his youth. All were victims of what looks like ritual sacrifices.
The U.S. ambassador practically forces Margaret to work once more with Li Yan. She buries her pain and turns to a new admirer for her free time---an American archaeologist who is making a television documentary. As Margaret and Li Yan investigate, they come closer and closer to finding the truth behind the killer's executions. They also come closer to a killer who will sacrifice anyone to conceal a secret.
This second in the China Thriller series is another testament to Peter May's ability to write captivating characters that move stealthily through Beijing's vibrant and dangerous setting.


(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

The first three victims were drugged, tied, labelled with a single word and a single number - then expertly beheaded. The fourth victim was dispatched in the same way, but unlike the others he was an American diplomat.

(summary from another edition)

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