3 out of 5 stars
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When an unfortunate fire causes a power outage in Holborn, London, Joyce Peng finds herself locked out of her apartment and seeking shelter with her long-lost ex, Tilly Wurman. As they catch up, Tilly starts getting worried as Joyce seems to show suicidal tendencies in the name of research for an upcoming book. However, when Joyce ultimately dies, her Asian tycoon brother suspects foul play and is determined to get to the truth.
On the other side of London, Catherine Roxborough gets a nerve-wracking welcome in the form of a stalker and a break-in after her year-long retreat to India. Naturally, it not only scares her but her remaining family as well. It is up to Chance Yang, an M&A consultant, to get to the bottom of both cases. Did Joyce really end her life? Who could be stalking Catherine, and why? Could these cases be interconnected? Find out by picking up a copy of A Chinese Remedy by Shawe Ruckus.
Firstly, I commend the author’s skill as he seamlessly interweaved the past and the present. I never realized such perfect transitions could exist in text. I also loved the attention to detail. Mentioning the slight sounds in the background helped with visualizing the story wonderfully. I liked how Chance analyzed situations, too; he made a lot of sense.
However, a few things didn’t sit right with me. I wonder how Felipe Kazama, Chance’s boss, could hire someone clearly unqualified to be a bodyguard just for his personal gain. Doing a self-defence crash course certainly wouldn’t be enough, right? Further, even though I found Felipe to be an interesting character at first, he became very irritating very soon. I believe most of his dialogues could have been cut out, and instead, the space could have been better used for the investigation and resolution.
Speaking of that, I think the author tried taking a realistic approach here. I found the conclusions and, ultimately, the climax underwhelming. As a reader, it felt like I had to fill in the gaps by myself, which isn’t an enjoyable look for a thriller. Further, Chance and his love interest didn’t have much chemistry, making the whole angle awkward. Lastly, I am trying to understand why the epilogue was what it was. Usually, the epilogues I’ve read are related to the present. This one was regarding a flashback. Since this book is the first in the series, I believe the answers lie within the second book.
A Chinese Remedy was a fascinating and gripping read, but it lacked the thrill element. I would rate it 3 out of 5 stars due to the reasons mentioned above. I also found a few editing errors, but they didn’t hinder my reading experience. I believe the book still has a lot of potential. Those who can overlook the thrill factor and enjoy a realistic story should pick this one up.
A Chinese Remedy
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