The Jade Buddha
Life is hectic but tentative; there are fears for the future.
The governments of Hong Kong and the United Kingdom are doing all they can to calm local nerves while at the same time pressing Beijing’s rulers to the north for assurances that the rule of law will be maintained. Beneath the surface other forces are at work; criminal forces dating back centuries but still very much alive.
There is a triad war, a war where the winner will amass great power. Some triad gangs are opportunistic small time pimps and extortionists. Others are extremely well organised and control exceptionally high-value narcotics and other illicit business interests. And they are notoriously brutal to their enemies.
The agencies of law enforcement are involved not just in Hong Kong but across the globe. So too is Simon Garrett; unintentionally but intimately involved. Where not only his life is at stake but others who are dear to him.
Their futures are being controlled by a shadowy gangster who will stop at nothing to get what he wants; a green jade Buddha of immense symbolic power.
The Shī fu.
At some point during the accident, someone slips a rare, Jade Buddha into his pocket. At that moment, Garret’s life changes forever.
The tension and action escalates as Winchester unwittingly becomes entangled in a web of intrigue and chased by ruthless, Hong Kong- based gangsters who’ll stop at nothing to retrieve the icon.
When the Hong Kong mafia kill Garret’s girlfriend in an particularly gruesome torture scene, Garret has only one thing in mind: revenge.
The pace in this novel is fast and furious at times, especially when Garret teams up with a Hong Kong Detective, Ian Stewart, to find the killers before they find the Jade Buddha and kill them both.
The action spans continents, we’re in Hong Kong one minute, London the next, with even a sojourn to the Lake District. It makes for a globe-trotting revenge thriller that’s not short on action.
The dialogue is sharp and to the point. The author obviously has an expert eye for the intricacies of Hong Kong life, and that for me is where I felt the book began to drag. At times, the descriptions felt like a dour history lessons. I’m all for scene-setting, but if the author had cut some of the descriptive passages or weaved them into the storyline or even in the dialogue, I think the overall pace of the book would have been tighter and more dynamic.
Rcheydn has a good ear for dialogue, especially the curt and severe jib of the Hong Kong mafioso whose cruelty is abundant in this book. When the action happens, it’s pacey and well-written.
I’m awarding The Jade Buddha 3 stars. An enjoyable read, but would have been even better with some fine surgery on the descriptive passages.