Special District: Harbin

by Tim Stickel

A 1929 murder in the gritty Russian-Chinese streets of Harbin…

Borya Melnikov is a mixed-race patrolman in Harbin’s Special District police force, a young honest man who takes his job seriously. When he’s promoted from chasing pickpockets to investigating a high-profile murder and dismemberment, nothing can prepare him for the dark secrets he will uncover along the way.

Paired with the legendary senior Inspector Chinn, they begin their investigation, tracing the victim’s and murderer’s footsteps through the city’s most upscale boulevards to its seediest boroughs and even to the frontiers of Manchuria. As they unravel the deadly mystery, danger abounds in the form of ethnic prejudices, local power struggles, and a growing Red terror campaign. And with a brewing border war with the Soviet Union fueling the instability of the region, the clock is running out to solve this dark and prominent murder.

Borya’s unique background might be the key to cracking the case where others have failed, but can he and Inspector Chinn survive long enough to do so?

First place winner of the 2021 North Street Book Award for Genre Fiction

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Category: Mystery – Historical