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Dragon Day: An Ellie McEnroe Novel    by Lisa Brackmann order for
Dragon Day
by Lisa Brackmann
Order:  USA  Can
Soho, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Dragon Day is the third in a series starring Iraq War veteran medic Ellie McEnroe, who now lives in Beijing. Not having read the first two episodes, I missed learning how she came to represent cutting-edge, dissident Chinese political artists, in particular Lao Zhang, with whom she clearly had a relationship (Zhang is absent from the scene for most of this episode).

Ellie suffers constant pain from injuries suffered in Iraq and keeps it at bay with Percocets - but she's quickly running out of them. Her evangelical mother (who's involved with their Chinese neighbor) and her dog Mimi live with her. And Chinese Domestic Security is very interested in Ellie, because of her work with the artists and especially because of her close ties to Lao Zhang. They're threatening to revoke her visa. Luckily for her, she has a spy on her side. She calls him 'John' and tries to resist their strong mutual attraction.

When ruthless (homicidal?) Shanghai billionaire Sidney Cao (who is also an obsessive art collector) asks Ellie to investigate his decadent son Guwei's American business partner, Marsh Brody, it's an offer she can't refuse. So she invents a topic for discussion with Sidney's children - their involvement in a museum to protect their father's art legacy. Then a girl who attended one of Guwei's parties ends up dead, with Ellie's card on her corpse! And a high-level official takes an interest in the case.

As Ellie gets deeper and deeper in trouble, Sidney Cao takes an interest in her mother - is he threatening her or protecting her? And Zhang returns to Beijing to take a stand against government censorship. There is constant action and violence in Dragon Day, which presents an intriguing perspective of corruption in modern China. Though the story felt rather disjointed, it held my interest.

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