China has had a run in English literature at the moment. Cixin Liu has overturned the world of science fiction with his Three Body Problem trilogy of books. Zhou Haohui’s Death Notice promises a similar shake up in crime fiction.
Death Notice takes place in 2002, the internet was changing Chinese society and the government hadn’t yet rolled out The Great Firewall of online control in-depth. Forums were transformative, attracting participants who shared a passion to connect in ways previously impossible within China.
It was also a more open time in terms of the government’s attitude to public freedom and discourse. Which is why it is the ideal time to set a complex serial killer that relies on the internet.
The death notice of the title refers to a crowdsourced list of wrongdoers who escaped justice and are dispatched in creative ways. I don’t want to say any more that would give away more of the plot.
Death Notice leads you on a twisted exploration of who the killer could be, dragging in to suspicion members of the investigative team. And this is apparently the first in a series of books.