Minotaur Books | 2 May 2023 | 320 pgs
This last installment of Lu Fei Mystery series was the best among all and I was so sad to see it end! (I'm hoping it's not the end of the series but the last I checked on Amazon, it listed this as "Book 3 of 3".) As mentioned in my previous post on Book Two, this series can read as a standalone but it's recommended to read them in order for the flow of characters developments and connected story plots.
Onto the review. Lu Fei is a meticulous and diligent inspector who couldn't tolerate corruption and the injustice of the law. He's one who'd pursue the cases relentlessly and there are times that even Chief Liang, his immediate superior, couldn't do anything about his impulsiveness and his enthusiasm in the investigations once he's set his eyes on them. Although his impulsive actions sometimes got him into trouble, such as offended the higher-ranked officials or get himself suspended, he's also lucky that he has a few trustful colleagues and friends whom he could count on.
This book focus a lot on sex trafficking and the corruption of various officials who have the power and authority to bend the law. Lu Fei has gone through a tough mission as an undercover filled with various action-packed scenes in Book Two and while this installment features him back to his inspector role, his investigations are filled with obstacles as he suspected the sex trafficking ring is run by someone who's well protected by the officials. How could Lu Fei override that authority without compromising his role while trying to catch the perpetrator(s)? His investigations are further complicated by someone who called the Magistrate; as it seems that they've their own ways of punishing the sex traffickers through torturous methods (similarly to the Five Punishments in ancient Chinese legal system) and even murder.
This book was dark and brutal in some ways, but it gives the readers more than a glimpse of the reality where the girls and the women are duped/forced into selling their bodies in which they've no idea of initially. Many of them live in intolerable living conditions (in this case North Korea) and they wish to escape or simply to find a job which might lead them to somewhere better, only to find themselves jump out of the frying pan into the fire. As always, I'd great faith in Lu Fei and he didn't disappoint in each of the cases he solved. I really hope that the author will continue to write this series because Lu Fei is a great character and it'd be a pity to see this series come to an end.
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