A beautifully written novel that is both a murder mystery and a novel of loss and redemption. American expat Paul Leibovitz has suffered a terrible loss and now lives a reclusive life on an small Hong Kong island. He briefly meets an American woman, Elizabeth, whose son is found dead the next day in Shenzhen, China. She asks for Paul's help in uncovering what happened. Paul, with the help of an old friend, now with the Shenzhen police, begin to investigate. They soon realize powerful corrupt officials and businessmen are involved. As the investigation unfolds Paul has to face the tragedy in his life and his relationship with his current girl friend. An incident from the cultural revolution catches up with the detective and the lives of everyone involved become dangerous and complicated. Highly recommend.
— Sarah Knight
May 2015 Indie Next List
“The author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats focuses again on what he knows best: the human condition. Love, trust, and friendship are exquisitely woven into a beautiful narrative that draws the reader into another world. Paul Leibovitz has made his home in Hong Kong and has had a very successful life, but a personal tragedy involving his son leaves him bereft and isolated. As he struggles to navigate the losses in his life, Paul is drawn into a mystery involving a missing American businessman. Paul and his Chinese friend, Zhang, attempt to discover the truth and are caught in a web of distrust and lies, and Chinese culture and political history play significant roles in resolving the crime. I loved it!”
— Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
The first in a suspenseful new trilogy by the internationally bestselling author of The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, this gripping story follows a retired expat journalist in contemporary China who tries to crack a murder case as he battles his own personal demons.
American expat Paul Leibovitz was once an ambitious advisor, dedicated father, and loving husband. But after living for nearly thirty years in Hong Kong, personal tragedy strikes and Paul’s marriage unravels in the fallout.
Now Paul is living as a recluse on an outlying island of Hong Kong. When he makes a fleeting connection with Elizabeth, a distressed American woman on the verge of collapse, his life is thrown into turmoil. Less than twenty-four hours later, Elizabeth’s son is found dead in Shenzhen, and Paul, invigorated by a newfound purpose, sets out to investigate the murder on his own.
As Paul, Elizabeth, and a detective friend descend deeper into the Shenzhen underworld—against the wishes of a woman with whom Paul has had a flirtation—they discover dark secrets hidden beneath China’s booming new wealth. In a country where rich businessmen with expensive degrees can corrupt the judicial system, the potential for evil abounds.
Part love story, part crime thriller, Whispering Shadows is the captivating tale of one man’s desperate search for redemption within the vice of a world superpower, a place where secrets from the past threaten to upend the country’s unchecked drive towards modernization.
About the Author
Jan-Philipp Sendker, born in Hamburg in 1960, was the American correspondent for Stern from 1990 to 1995, and its Asian correspondent from 1995 to 1999. In 2000 he published Cracks in the Wall, a nonfiction book about China. The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, his first novel, was an international bestseller. He lives in Berlin with his family.
“An absorbing mystery set in a Hong Kong tourists only glimpse—the dark underside of a money-making beehive trying to find its place in a cynically corrupt new China. Vivid and knowing.” —Joseph Kanon, New York Times bestselling author of Istanbul Passage — Joseph Kanon
“A stunning mystery in which a twisted murder investigation pulls back the curtain on a country whose culture and history have been shaped as much by our American capitalism as its own communism. Whispering Shadows is a thoughtful, moving, and profoundly revelatory read. ” — Attica Locke
“The incomparable Jan-Philipp Sendker immerses us in the complexities of a ‘new China,’ entirely different and yet somehow ineluctably the same as the old. At once lyrical and suspenseful, this is a novel that moved me, even as it showed me an unfamiliar world.” — Ayelet Waldman
"A darkly beautiful, heart-wrenching portrayal of the Cultural Revolution's devastating social legacy." — Booklist, starred
"When you hear crime novel, you think you know what toexpect. When you hear love story, you might believe you know the outcome. Yet,in Jan-Phillipp Sendker's astonishing new novel, set against the seamy backdropof modern day China, he melds the two to create something so original,thrilling and moving about the things we want, and what we're prepared to do toget them. A murder story was never so ravishing." — Caroline Leavitt