HOUSE OF BONES
There’s something immensely likeable about Hauxwell’s private eye, Catherine Berlin, and it’s because of her imperfections rather than despite them. Berlin’s a loner with serious trust issues, a middle-aged heroin addict who’s haunted by the past and wrestles with her own demons. But this flawed yet tough and tenacious woman is free of the cliches that this scenario may suggest; the way she makes massive mistakes (and even more enemies) as she steamrollers her way through cases is all-too-human.
This fourth novel in the series sees Berlin hired for a case involving an orphaned public schoolboy that takes her into the Chinese underworld via shady members of the British aristocracy and their ready supply of opium. Hauxwell writes beautifully about her surroundings, plunging us into London’s historysoaked, gentrified Wapping riverside, the humid glitz of Hong Kong and the smog of mainland China. Subtle references to old injuries and grudges press on your intrigue synapses, which will make newcomers want to stock up on previous instalments before they have even reached the end of this tale. As the pace builds, putting down House Of Bones before Berlin’s finished the task at hand is a tough ask.