Read advance reader review of Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker, page 7 of 9

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Whispering Shadows

by Jan-Philipp Sendker

Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker X
Whispering Shadows by Jan-Philipp Sendker
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2015, 352 pages

    Feb 2016, 352 pages


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Page 7 of 9
There are currently 63 member reviews
for Whispering Shadows
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  • Linda P. (Medford, WI)
    Suspense in Modern Day China
    This novel started on a hopeless note and concluded with a grain of optimism. The storyline takes us there. I enjoyed this book very much. I liked the characters and the location. China is such a mystery. It is the focal point of this novel, the sights, sounds, smells, and bustle. Literally, everything is made in China, and with the new capitalism comes the corruption. This plays a key point in this story. The writing flowed smoothly. I will definitely read this author again, starting with "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats".
  • Sharon P. (San Diego, CA)
    Interesting look into business in China
    I was intrigued with the setting of this book~China~and the clash of civilizations with Americans doing business in China. I loved the main character Paul; I did feel his pain and loyalty to his departed son. It was fun to watch him wake up and engage in the world. I could always do without a love story mixed into a mystery, but this one was rather tender. Paul's Chinese detective partner, Zhang, was a delight as his Buddhism gave a nice balance to the massive corruption. I would read this author again. Really enjoyed the book!
  • Daniel A. (Naugatuck, CT)
    Whispering Shadows
    I really enjoyed this book, it captured what it is like to live in Hong Kong and in China. The characters are memorable, and the story is well told. I have never read anything by this author before this book, but I think I'm going to add him to my to-read list.

    I have to also mention the translator is outstanding; Christine Lo is her name. I do not understand German, but I'm told the translation from German to English is really close, about 98, and that is good enough for me.
  • Barbara L. (Novato, CA)
    Mystery in Hong Kong
    I loved Sendker's "The Art of Hearing Heartbeats", so I jumped at the chance to read his new novel. This book is very different from that one, but very good in a different way. This novel has a underlying sadness to it due to a personal tragedy that was visited upon Paul, the main character . He is reluctantly brought out of his determined isolation and grief to help another grieving parent solve the mystery of her missing son. Through this investigation we the readers are brought into modern China and I was truly enlightened by what I learned! I really enjoyed this look into a very different world!
  • Ann O. (Kansas City, MO)
    An Absorbing Story
    I enjoyed this book -- maybe not quite as much as I did his previous book, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, which I loved. But the characters were beautifully drawn, the story was absorbing and illuminating. I look forward to Sendker's next book!
  • Thomas F. (Cranberry Twp, PA)
    A Literary Novel of Crime and Detection in China Today
    The events in this story take place in contemporary China but they reverberate with the social and personal consequences of the worst aspects of the Cultural Revolution that began in the mid-1960s and concluded after Chairman Mao's death nearly a decade later. The author's background as a reporter in China serves him well in conveying a sense of authenticity in describing various aspects of life in Hong Kong and mainland China. For instance, the well-known extensive corruption that permeates present-day Chinese society is a key aspect of the story. Just as importantly, the reader learns about some of the horrific aspects of the earlier era through the anguished interior thoughts of a certain key Chinese character, a detective. This interiority of perspective, varying among the key characters, also enables the author to explore the problem of trust in these circumstances as well as the moral dilemmas some characters confront. In these ways, the novelist strives for literary quality as he embeds its story of crime and detection in the context of contemporary Chinese social and psychological characteristics.

    However, this fusion of literary and thriller elements is not entirely successful. There is little suspense or mystery in the plot. Some of the situations and especially the conversations feel contrived and lacking in credibility. And the leading American character (Paul Leibovitz), described as having extensive experience in China, sometimes seems to think and behave in ways inconsistent with this background. I didn't know whether this was a complexity of the character intended by the author or a lapse in novelistic skill. Indeed, for me the Chinese detective and his nemesis, a leading and dangerously bright mogul, were each better understood as characters than were any of the Americans in this story. Whether the expert rendition of the Chinese context and characters outweighs these limitations and flaws will be a judgment each reader makes. However, readers looking for insights into the people of contemporary China, especially those old enough to have participated in the excesses of the Cultural Revolution, are likely to appreciate this novel despite what I see as its weaknesses.
  • Sally H. (Geneva, OH)
    Whispering Shadows - A Compelling Read
    I would give this book a 4.5 overall. It might have been a 5 except for the slightly disappointing resolution of the actual murder mystery, which I thought was a little simplistic or Perry Masonish. Sendker's descriptions of Hong Kong and China provide cultural insights that enrich the overall experience of the book. Paul and Christine's separate losses and handled with sensitivity and realism and, ultimately, hope. This book was difficult to put down and inspired me to find his earlier novels. Whispering Shadows would make a good book club selection.

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