OK, so Penguin China are my delightful publishers but I’m pushing this anyway as I’ve known about it for a long time, read some early passages in translation and am eager to read the whole thing. It’s also translated by a good friend Duncan Hewitt (of Getting Rich First fame) so I’m sure he’s done a good job. A Chinese noir! I do hope the first of many – look out for Hanging Devils!
When Hong Jun returns to China from studying and working as a lawyer in the US, he opens the doors to his new practice in Beijing intent on helping ordinary people defend their rights, but he soon finds himself embroiled in a case which is anything but ordinary.
Ten years earlier, in 1984, on a state farm in the brutally icy, rural northeast of China, local beauty Li Hongmei was raped and murdered. There were two suspects and whilst one disappeared, the other confessed making it a seemingly open and shut case. But now it looks like the wrong man may have been sent down for the crime. His newly-rich brother is prepared to pay whatever it takes to clear his name and he thinks Hong Jun is the right man for the job.
In a quest for justice, Hong Jun returns to the sins of the past and delves deep into the sleazy underbelly of China’s corrupt legal system. When he stumbles upon what appears to be official complicity in a cover-up he must challenge those who hold the rule of law secondary to personal ambition and the whims of local officials to solve a case shrouded in both mystery and treachery and one that ambiguously alludes to the ancient legends of the Heilongjiang Mountains where the murder took place.
Inspired by real events, Hanging Devils is a gripping legal thriller in the finest tradition of international crime fiction.
Professor He Jiahong is one of China’s leading experts on criminal evidence, evidential investigation and criminal procedure. He obtained his doctorate in judicial science from Northwestern University in Illinois and is currently professor at the school of law of the People’s University in Beijing.