Blood Rubies

Blood Rubies opens with jewel thief Rune Sarasin tied to a chair inside a burning building on the brink of collapse and asking, "as she had repeatedly over the past seven days, just how it had come to this."

What follows is the answer to that question: Just how did a small-stakes jewel thief living in Bangkok wind up trapped in a burning building in New York City? It starts with a jewel theft gone wrong, as Rune and her boyfriend, Kit, lift a bag of rubies off an American gemstone trafficker. But when the two realize they've been identified--and that Kit's kid sister has gone missing--they are sucked into a series of plots more complex than either could have imagined.

In Rune, Mailan Doquang has created a criminal to root for, a slightly damaged "thrill-seeker and adrenaline addict" who fancies herself something "like Robin Hood, only she and Kit kept the profits." With Rune at the novel's center, Doquang launches into a fast-paced mystery filled with action and adventure: Rune zooms across Bangkok on the back of Kit's motorcycle, breaks into a priest's office, finds herself on the wrong end of a sex trafficking ring, winds up in cahoots with the very man she stole from in the first place, and more. It's a lot to pack into one novel, and it can feel chaotic at times. But Blood Rubies proves that it's worth suspending disbelief to get lost in an exciting, suspenseful trip around the world with a heroine determined to save herself, the people she loves--and maybe the jewels she stole, too. --Kerry McHugh, freelance writer

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