Skeleton God
by Pattison, Eliot

"Shan Tao Yun, now the reluctant constable of a remote Tibetan town, has learned to expect the impossible at the roof of the world, but nothing has prepared him for his discovery when he investigates a report that a nun has been savagely assaulted by ghosts. In an ancient tomb by the old nun lies a gilded saint buried centuries earlier, flanked by the remains of a Chinese soldier killed fifty years before and an American man murdered only hours earlier. Shan is thrust into a maelstrom of intrigue and contradiction. The Tibetans are terrified, the notorious Public Security Bureau wants nothing to do with the murders, and the army seems determined to just bury the dead again and Shan with them. No one wants to pursue the truth-except Shan, who finds himself in a violent collision between a heartbreaking, clandestine effort to reunite Tibetan refugees separated for decades and a covert corruption investigation that reaches to the top levels of the government in Beijing. The terrible secret Shan uncovers changes his town and his life forever"-

ELIOT PATTISON is the Edgar Award-winning author of the Shan novels, including The Skull Mantra and Soul of the Fire. A frequent visitor to China, his books and articles on international policy issues have been published around the world. He lives in Oley, Pennsylvania.

Like every policeman holding together a rural backwater, Constable Shan must pay lip service to outsiders' whims while navigating local realities. But if the backwater is in remote Tibet and the bosses are in China, the stakes are quite a bit higher than usual. Shan is just trying to keep his head down, but then he is led to a tomb that has been emitting a strange noise and, when opened, reveals a mummified saint who has company. The constable discovers that Chinese influence on his village has been more devastating than he knew, and his hapless, long-imprisoned son is far from the only victim of the conquerors. This ninth in Edgar Award-winner Pattison's Inspector Shan Tao Yun series is slow in parts but offers a satisfying tale of murder mixed with historical detail, family love, and 1984-like political inanity that will keep readers tuned in. Though Pattison's work is more literary than Dan Brown's, readers who enjoyed the religious elements of The Da Vinci Code might want to give this one a try. Copyright 2017 Booklist Reviews.

Inspector Shan struggles to separate implausible myth from verifiable fact in probing a murky murder scene.Now working as a constable in a rural Tibetan outpost, Inspector Shan Tao Yun (Soul of the Fire, 2014, etc.) is pressed in to a trip to the mountains when a superstitious woman named Yara bursts into his office with the cry, "The dead are rising!" She drops a set of coral beads covered in blood, which a female prisoner recognizes as the property of a hermit nun. When Shan investigates, he finds the nun, Nyima, brutally assaulted and two corpses nearby. One is a Chinese soldier dead for decades, the other a Western man dead for just a few hours. Examining the bodies in the comfort of the indoors is the first step in his investigation. Both were stabbed in identical fashion while immobilized with nails through the hands. Are the malevolent spirits whom all the terrified locals whisper about responsible? The methodical Shan is not to be swayed by superstition. In a modest l ibrary in Lhasa, he bones up on the military history of the region, looking for keys to the identities of the victims. The complexion of the case changes considerably when he learns that the dead Western man and Nyima were of the same family. To unravel the mystery, Shan must confront both rampant corruption and the locals' denial of a shameful past. Pattison's ninth installment provides an important history lesson little understood in the West with authority, nuance, and genuine suspense. Copyright Kirkus 2017 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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