London-born Paul French lived and worked in Shanghai for years and his analysis and commentary on China was widely published. As an author, China remains his focus. One of his books, Midnight in Peking, was a New York Times bestseller.
City of Devils is an account (historical fiction) of Shanghai’s lawless 1930s and ’40s and two of its most notorious criminals, Joe Farren and Jack Riley. The two are at the heart of this story. It is through them that the author helps create an account of the drug-running, graft and gambling that were synonymous with Shanghai long before the stories of China’s economic miracle and surging GDP numbers came to replace them.
City of Devils has been described as a true-crime book, one whose brilliance is the recreation of a time and place through an impeccably researched narrative.