An electrifying thriller debut set in modern China, in a world of artists, paranoid revolutionaries and government conspiracies...First she tried to start over.
Now she's just trying to survive. ON HER OWN Ellie Cooper's tour of duty in Iraq left her with a damaged leg, a faithless husband, and a desperate need to get away.
In Beijing, she falls for charismatic Chinese artist Lao Zhang but, after the arrival of a mysterious guest, he disappears...ON THE RUN Her cheating husband, Trey, tracks her down to demand a divorce.
But far more disturbing are the Chinese and American agents who begin to hound Ellie for Lao Zhang's whereabouts.
AND A LONG WAY FROM HOME When things suddenly turn threatening, Ellie turns fugitive, convinced there's a hidden agenda - one that involves something she should never have seen in Iraq - something that could get her killed.
Now she's alone, in a country she barely knows, falling down a rabbit hole of conspiracies from which she can't escape...
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 26/04/2012
- Category: Thriller / suspense
- ISBN: 9780007453191
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Review by tvordj
Ellie/Lili was a medic who served in Iraq and then decommissioned after an injury from a bombing. She had moved to Beijing with her husband Trey after he left the military for a job in a security company but the marraige quickly broke down when she discovered he was cheating on her. Ellie is sharing a flat and has a friend and sometime lover who is an artist. She's suffering from post traumatic stress and seems barely able to look after herself at times. She goes to visit her artist friend and meets a stranger there. Within days, her friend has left town and there are big bad men coming after her to find out what she knows about the stranger. She discovers that the American government want the man, believing he's a potential terrorist and then it seems like the Chinese government are after her friend but I'm not quite sure why. He's not a political activist but it could be because of his association with this other person. Ellie ends up being chased by both factions, the Chinese government/police and the American security faction. Both of them are pretty scary and threatening and she ends up on the run from one end of China to another but isn't able to escape. They all seem to be able to know exactly where she is all the time and one or the other appear in coffee shops, on deserted roads, on trains. It's a bit baffling. It also ends a bit abruptly. Ellie isn't able to get any useful information and keeps having encounters with strangers and allowing herself to be drawn into dangerous situations, even though she doesn't trust anyone she meets. It almost seems like she just doesn't care what happens to her and takes the risk anyway. This appears to be related to the post traumatic stress and we do get flashbacks to her time in Iraq to find out more about how all that came about and how it affected her so her motivations seem more understandable. Who can she trust? Some people that seem to be scary could actually be on her side but it gets a bit confusing at times. All that being said, i did like the book. Ellie was flawed and broken but you knew why. I wasn't quite as keen on all the things that happened to her. It just seemed like too much, too threatening, and then a twist would be thrown in just to add to the confusion. Maybe the reader is meant to feel as unsettled and confused as Ellie was so if that was the case, it worked!