Hour of the Rat (An Ellie McEnroe Novel)

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann. Lisa Brackman. Even though Zhang's mysterious disappearance has attracted the attention of the Chinese authorities. Even though her Born-Again mother has come for a visit and shows no signs of leaving. But things really get complicated Iraq War vet Ellie McEnroe has a pretty good life in Beijing, representing the work of controversial dissident Chinese artist Zhang Jianli.

But things really get complicated when Ellie's agrees to help out an old Army buddy with his search for his missing brother. Ellie finds herself entangled in a conspiracy that may or may not involve a sinister biotech company, eco-terrorists, an art-obsessed Chinese billionaire, and lots of cats—a conspiracy that will take her on a wild chase through some of China's most beautiful and most surreal places.

Get A Copy. Hardcover , pages. Published June 18th by Soho Crime first published January 1st More Details Original Title. Ellie McEnroe 2. Ellie McEnroe. Beijing China. Other Editions 6. Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about Hour of the Rat , please sign up. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Average rating 3. Rating details. More filters. Sort order.


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Feb 11, Ramsey Hootman rated it it was amazing Shelves: women-i-can-relate-to , purgie-books. Can't afford airfare to China?

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Tag along with Ellie McEnroe And since this is fiction, you also get to experience the visceral thrills of Chinese intrigue, from lowlife thugs to high rollers with so much clout in the CCP that they're untouchable. Hour of the Rat is a weird, cool hybrid - travel narrative plus mystery. Brackmann i Can't afford airfare to China? Brackmann is amazing at providing just the right little details to conjure up authentic Chinese life. Having lived there for a year myself, reading Brackmann's books is just like taking a quick trip back This is a direct sequel and you'll miss a lot of character setup and background if you skip RPT.

Let's see, stuff I didn't like Ellie travels all over the place, hopping on a train or plane in every other chapter. Brackmann makes each locale feel different and unique while still patently Chinese , but my very visual brain wanted a layout of the geography.

Ideally, I'd have a map graphic at the beginning of each chapter with Ellie's position updated. I think it would have been a cool, helpful addition. Also, I know it's customary for novels to skip over bodily functions, but I'll admit to wondering about how Ellie was getting around bathroom-wise.

She injures her leg pretty badly at one point in the narrative, and after that rides a number of trains. Especially drinking all that beer??? My bad Apparently soft sleepers have western-style toilets. I preferred squatties, so I never noticed! Okay, back to the good stuff. The plot is awesome because it tackles a ton of current issues with China, stuff you may or may not have seen in the news. GMOs, poisoned food, China's empty cities, pollution, etc. I stay pretty current on Chinese stuff, and Brackmann has totally done her research.

Even stuff that's not central to the plot gets mentioned along the way.

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Ellie McEnroe Investigations - Soho Press

Altogether, it makes the book feel utterly authentic. In short: if you want to experience the shady underbelly of Chinese life, Hour of the Rat is your read. Shelves: female-protagonist , contemporary , female-author , suspense , crime , audiobook , mystery , china. Rock Paper Tiger was an unexpectedly good debut novel, and made Lisa Brackmann a crime fiction writer to look out for.

I said that if she continued writing about the adventures of Ellie McEnroe I would be down for that, and lo and behold, here is a second book about Ellie. And while Hour of the Rat wraps up tidily, there were enough character issues left unresolved that more books seem very likely. This is good, since I've liked the first two a lot, though I do fear that the Ellie McEnroe ser Rock Paper Tiger was an unexpectedly good debut novel, and made Lisa Brackmann a crime fiction writer to look out for.

So far, though, the series is still fresh. Ellie McEnroe was a medic in the U.

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She got a chunk blown out of her leg in Iraq, and now she has physical and psychological issues to deal with. She settled in China, originally because her then-husband brought her there when he got a job as a "security consultant. A buddy of hers from the "sandbox" asks her to find his brother, who's somewhere in China and apparently in some trouble. Reluctantly, Ellie agrees. The brother turns out to be accused of eco-terrorism, and Ellie's hunt will bring her to the attention of powerful multinational corporations, the Chinese secret service, and an eccentric art-collecting billionaire.

As with the previous book, it means she spends a lot of time running scared and getting beaten up and not knowing who exactly is after her. There isn't much to the "mystery" — what makes the book enjoyable is, of course, Ellie's outsider's view of China. This is a modern look at China, with its odd mix of authoritarian statism and hyper-capitalism, beautiful country villages and cities so polluted that the air is practically solid. A GMO seed company is the primary villain, but there is of course the ever-present though mostly easy to pretend-it-isn't-there surveillance by various organs of the Chinese government.

The Chinese characters are often more cynical than Ellie is about their country, but they are as proud and as ambitious and as nationalistic as any Americans. Also, Ellie's mother, who drove her crazy last book with a constant stream of Jesus-loves-you emails, comes to China for a visit.

Lisa Brackmann understands the value of comic relief characters.

Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann

An altogether enjoyable read. For any fan of crime fiction or expat adventures, go ahead and get started on this series now — it's my hope that it will be around for a while. Apr 08, Pat rated it it was amazing. If you, however, prefer a book with deep characterizations, exquisite descriptions, a terrifying real-world conspiracy, and action that occurs in sudden bursts of sheer terror, set in a county that is both surreally beautiful and maddeningly baffling, then this book should be at the top of your reading list.

The description lays out the plot pretty well. In Hour of the Rat, Ms. Ellie is both physically and mentally scarred from her tour as a military medic in Iraq. Her estranged mother is now living with her, trying to heal the rifts in their lives. Then one of her Iraq war buddies, suffering from brain trauma incurred in the war, calls upon her for help finding his brother, lost somewhere in the sprawling, glorious, treacherous bowels of China. Mostly she has people who are sort of OK, or who offer something that masquerades as friendship with all sorts of strings and traps included.

And almost immediately finds herself tumbling down a rabbit hole, pursued by organizations that are at odds not only with her, but each other. Ellie is a complicated character. I like that about her. A lot. She drinks too much beer and too much coffee.

She swears and does stupid things sometimes and makes bad decisions. Just like real humans do. This is just one of Ms. And of course, China itself is a character, like a darkly compelling and utterly untrustworthy lover. Beautiful, lush, intoxicating, possessive, and dangerous as hell. This is a novel that couches authenticity in fiction, and captures the truth about us and the human condition—that we are all just trying to do our crummy best in a sometimes scary world.

And that sometimes, if we are open to it, something good and lasting can come of it. Like this novel. I was exceedingly fortunate to receive an Advance Reading Copy of this book. Aug 09, Kate Sherwood rated it it was ok. But then Is her leg seriously re-injured?