Hong Kong. Idyllic beaches. Glitzy cityscapes. What can possibly go wrong?
Jasmine Spitfire, Hong Kong’s social counsellor extraordinaire, thought her world would forever consist of the disillusioned, the disgruntled and the mildly depressed. She’s wrong. The moment a gruesome murder darkens her doorstep, Spitfire’s world teeters on the cusp of paranoia and self-destruction.
Why did Piers Blunt, the corporate power-player, die in such a gruesome manner? And who could have done this?
Jasmine embarks on an investigation that puts in her radar a cast of suspects, making the crowded city even more claustrophobic. Was it Piers’ disgruntled wife, Farrah? Was it his colleagues, who were salivating to usurp his position? Was it his beautiful, ambitious mistress, nicknamed Penny the Dreadful? But when the clues do not add up while the dead bodies begin to pile up, Spitfire must race against time–and overcome her own demons–to find and stop the real murderer.
An intense, white-knuckle whodunit set amidst the glittering skyscrapers, dark alleyways, and majestic shorelines of Hong Kong, Penny Dreadful throws you in the front seat of a maddening ride and compels you to keep your eyes, and your heart, wide open.
“Much more than a thriller, ‘Penny Dreadful’ is a scathing commentary on Hong Kong society, woven into an intricate, heart-rending yet uplifting page turner that holds you hostage until the very end… Spellbinding!” – JB Lazarte, Carlos Palanca Awardee and author of ‘All the Darkness Unseen.’
Okay, first off, this was an excellent read. A lot of twisty bits and suspense which I love in a thriller. I like that the story takes place in a sweltering hot Summer in Hong Kong because right now this Winter is brutal. Imagining being too hot on the streets of Hong Kong is okay with me.
The characters are so well developed here and you feel like you’re walking the street of Hong Kong from Teresa’s brilliant descriptions of the city. The writing is absolutely terrific.
The book jumps from the recent past to the present. The story is mostly told by the Protagonist Jasmine Spitfire when we meet Jasmine, a Guidance Counsellor, Social Worker, a Life coach with a double Masters in Psychology she’s in the middle of talking one of her clients down. Jasmine sees herself as just a normal person doing a job she loves, however; on the side, Jasmine does some sleuthing for her clients, a cheating asshole husband there, a misunderstanding in communication here, you know regular stuff. And so this is how we come to meet Penny Szeto, a beautiful, smart, ambitious and climbing to the top woman. Once Penny has been introduced to the story, the twists and suspense become even more interesting. Some of which you will not see coming.
Look out for some real psychological manipulation, from some of these character(s).
She’s come to Jasmine for help after the murder of her boss Piers Blunt, thinking the police might pin the murder on her. Jasmine’s office offers help to both the rich and the not so rich, so her visiting this particular office is not surprising on its own.
As I mentioned the characters are well developed and we learn a great deal about Penny through the pages. I have to say though Penny is one ruthless bitch, that girl will have you hating her one moment and kinda liking her the next. I mean we all want to reach our career goals right?
“She’s the epitome of someone narcissistic, ambitious, single-minded to the point of being obstinate. She has no empathy for fellow human beings and thinks that the world revolves around her. Everything she does is based on what the benefits her, and her alone. It’s the simplest logic in her mind – does it help me? Yes, then do it. No, then forget it.”
There’s humor throughout, but not so that the real horror taking place is forgotten for more a than a second. The banter between jasmine and her boss, or the lead detective and even her father is just the right touch throughout the book.
I really love how the author weaves the story throughout Hong Kong, from the upper echelons to some of the grubbiest streets and along the way we learn some of its cultures. We know that Jasmine Spitfire is half Chinese and half British and we’re given some deep insight into how she had to deal with being a local Hongkonger and not being treated as such growing up and as and now as an adult.
I recommend Penny Dreadful to those who love a good whodunnit, set on the streets of Hong Kong with humor and suspense. It’s a thrilling and entertaining ride to the very last page.
Title: Penny Dreadful
Author: Teresa Tam-Morris
Published: January 9, 2019
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Number of Pages: 477
Thank you Teresa Tam-Morris, for sending me a Digital copy of your book Penny Dreadful.
Learn more about Indie Author Teresa Tam-Morris on her website.
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Categories: Book Review