In 2002, Sergeant Zheng Haoming of China's Chengdu police department closes in on a man soliciting the names of people online. He's looking for people who have committed grievous crimes but have escaped the law. This digital vigilante calls himself "Eumenides," after the Greek goddesses of vengeance. Eumenides took credit for a warehouse bombing that killed two innocent victims in 1984 by issuing "death notices"--a bombing Zheng and Longzhou police captain Pei Tao know of all too well. Before Zheng can make the connection, he is found dead in his apartment by Pei, who now holds the key to taking down Eumenides.
Chengdu police chief Han Hao assembles a task force with Pei as a member. Quickly, more death notices appear, listing the name of the accused, the crimes committed, the time of punishment and the executioner: Eumenides. As promised, these punishments are meted out; the gruesome murders of vengeance are committed right on schedule. The task force is not short on talent, but they're outmaneuvered. And as Pei's tangled connection to the 1984 bombing is revealed, the question becomes: Is Pei really part of the investigation, or being investigated himself?
Death Notice, the first of three bestselling volumes in China, is the first to be translated, by Zac Haluza, into English. Zhou Haohui delivers the goods for fans of crime fiction with a tightly plotted, rapidly paced story with plenty of twists and turns. While the novel doesn't reinvent the genre and the dialogue is occasionally clichéd, it boasts an intricate plot, builds suspense and never loses its focus. --Frank Brasile, librarian