Publisher: Atria / 37 Ink
Publication Date: 4/14/2015
My Rating: 4 Stars
The first in a suspenseful new trilogy by the internationally bestselling author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, this gripping story follows a retired expat journalist in contemporary China who tries to crack a murder case as he battles his own personal demons.
American expat Paul Leibovitz was once an ambitious advisor, dedicated father, and loving husband. But after living for nearly thirty years in Hong Kong, personal tragedy strikes and Paul’s marriage unravels in the fallout.
Now Paul is living as a recluse on an outlying island of Hong Kong. When he makes a fleeting connection with Elizabeth, a distressed American woman on the verge of collapse, his life is thrown into turmoil. Less than twenty-four hours later, Elizabeth’s son is found dead in Shenzhen, and Paul, invigorated by a newfound purpose, sets out to investigate the murder on his own.
As Paul, Elizabeth, and a detective friend descend deeper into the Shenzhen underworld—against the wishes of a woman with whom Paul has had a flirtation—they discover dark secrets hidden beneath China’s booming new wealth. In a country where rich businessmen with expensive degrees can corrupt the judicial system, the potential for evil abounds.
Part love story, part crime thriller, Whispering Shadows is the captivating tale of one man’s desperate search for redemption within the vice of a world superpower, a place where secrets from the past threaten to upend the country’s unchecked drive towards modernization.
A special thank you to Atria Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
WHISPERING SHADOWS by Jan-Philipp Sendker, is a multi-layered extraordinary story of universal human emotions of loss, love, betrayal, and trust. A gripping suspense story of a retired journalist in contemporary China attempting to crack a murder case, as he battles his own demons and loss of his son. A mix of a love story and crime mystery thriller, a captivating tale of a man’s desperation and search for redemption, in a land where secrets from the past threaten to destroy the future. From Hong Kong and China, to exotic Lamma Island -- to the homeless. A unique character, Paul Leibovitz has lived in Hong Kong for thirty years until personal tragedy hit, and his life began to unravel and fall part piece by piece. After the death of Paul and Meredith son, Justin dies of leukemia, Paul withdraws and buys a house on Lamma, an island- a ferry ride from Hong Kong. Living in isolation on an exotic island he meets an American woman whose son has gone missing and she wants him to help her solve the mystery behind the disappearance and into the underworld. Since Justin's death, he has not associated with hardly anyone except Christine, a Hong Kong–based single mother, and Zhang, a homicide detective in Shenzhen. Under the bricks, cement, high rises, real estate development, airports, and all the new exploding development, there is evil, power, greed, and corruption. From misappropriation of official funds, tax evasion and murder---“Behind every great fortune lies a great crime.” Could you leave your shadow behind if you only walked fast enough? He wonders about the people who lived here thirty years ago. In the last thirty years, despite all the advances in medical science, children die. People are consumed by feelings of guilt or sink into self-pity, unable to bear the emptiness or refused to let their children die. Life must go on. The under story is the police detective recalling his life during the Cultural Revolution and how his life intersects with the powerful Chinese businessman deeply involved in the murder investigation. The face of this country had changed with complexities beyond comprehension. An absorbing mystery of the old versus the new -- A chilling account taking you to the darkest places, the fears, the anxieties and the struggles, to the most exotic and riches, for an almost mesmerizing adventure, keeping you glued to the pages. Rich in vivid exquisite settings, nature, culture, emotion, and well developed compelling characters, we learn about each character's complex past and their shared need to find redemption, as they search for the son. Sendker does an outstanding job in creating the backdrop, as you imagine yourself there; he is in tune with the Eastern philosophies, and cultures, bringing passion, vibrancy, and authenticity to this well-written novel. An engrossing book, and a heart-wrenching portrayal of the Cultural Revolution’s devastating effects —strongly recommend to lovers of history, literature, politics, cultural, romance, and mystery. An ideal choice for book clubs and group discussions. Can’t wait to read “The Art of Hearing Heartbeats", as have heard nothing but rave reviews. Looking forward to the next in Sendker's intriguing trilogy!
Tour Hong Kong with author Jan-Philipp Sendker
Join bestselling author Jan-Philipp Sendker on a tour of Hong Kong, the setting of his new book, 'Whispering Shadows', a gripping story about a retired expat journalist who tries to crack a murder case as he battles his own personal demons.