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The Last Six Million Seconds    by John Burdett order for
Last Six Million Seconds
by John Burdett
Order:  USA  Can
Vintage, 2012 (1997)
Softcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Barbara Lingens

This is a re-release of a book first published in 1997. Since the story concerns events leading up to the handover of Hong Kong and the New Territories by the British to China in 1997, the first edition probably had people chewing on their fingernails. Today, the story is merely fascinating.

Inspector Chan is trying to find out who is responsible for three decapitated heads that have been found floating in the Hong Kong harbor. He quickly finds there is much more to the crime than he could have imagined as he has to deal with the outgoing British government's disdain for his investigation and the Chinese police's disinclination to cooperate. Then there is the New York mafia and the strange contingent of Chinese Communists who also get into the act.

While the story unfolds, we are treated to Hong Kong and its many facets: multitudinous inhabitants, colonial architecture and influence, glorious island setting, the lives of the richest of the rich and the poorest of the poor. It's a feast all the way around because author John Burdett really knows how to plot a story. Just when Chan seems to be getting close to a solution, there is a new development and therefore more to figure out. All this as the clock keeps ticking toward the handover. Fascinating indeed.

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