by Andy Oakes
Pan Macmillan, HK$128
These days, no self-respecting global event takes place without at least one blockbuster writer imagining how to blow it up or cover it with blood. Andy Oakes chooses the latter in this Olympics-meets-serial killer novel. China's Olympics are about to begin. Only a CGI effect (art imitates life, again) is missing for the People's Games to open. Then a number of dead bodies is discovered in the foundations of the Shanghai stadium. Each is that of a woman and each has been horribly raped and mutilated. Crossing this plot is another involving our hero, Chief Investigator Sun Piao, whose best friend is crucified and the body arranged like the star of the People's Republic. In the course of his investigation, Piao begins to excavate a cover-up that extends all the way to the highest levels of Chinese society. The answers may be known to the omniscient Citizen One only. Oakes tells a good story and entertainingly uses a lot of swear-word constructions involving whores, dogs and mothers. Citizen One deserves two stars for the cursing alone. But it is Oakes' sharp plot and credible characters that really catch the eye.