Jianghu by Charles Colyott (The Randall Lee Mysteries #3)

Last Updated on December 3, 2015

Jianghu is I think one of the darkest books in the Randall Lee series by Charles Colyott.  Compared to the first book, Changes, which started out on a much lighter note, Jianghu is a hardcore thriller, bordering on deranged and disturbing. Be warned! Yet it is one of my most favorite books, at least so far.

Before reading Jianghu, you should read the previous novels in the series because what Randall Lee faces now is directly related to a background story regarding his murdered daughter that runs throughout the rest of the books. There are some dark choices ahead of him, and without previous knowledge of what and why, many things might be confusing, to say the least.

Randall Lee has a dark side which really comes to surface in this book. Yet he is one of the most moral, kind and good people I’ve read about in books so far. He is broken, hurting deeply and happiness is constantly eluding him, especially when demons from his past come back to haunt him with a vengeance.

In Jianghu, Jenny, a 5 years old child is missing and it is up to martial arts expert dr. Lee to find that child and dismantle the whole group of rich perverts who prey on the innocent for their sexual amusement. Of course he refuses to help initially, especially when ‘help’ involves him allowing the police to exhume his daughter’s body, but the deeper he gets into the case, the more he realizes that ‘help’ might just mean crossing some really hard lines for him.

In Pressure Point, book #2 in the series, Randall was already on the edge of some of those lines. The book was much darker than the previous one, and we were left with Randall almost killing Tracy, his girlfriend, due to Jade, a drug which he was injected with, which causes murdering thoughts, after which he was left on her doorsteps, at the brink of killing her. Which he almost did.

Now Tracy has PTSD and their relationship is rocky at best. She can’t trust him (could you?) but Randall can’t give up on her. She is the last piece of humanity left in him. If he loses her, he loses everything.

And that’s the lightest part in the book, because what follows next is dark, sick and bordering on horror. I don’t want to give further spoilers, but be warned, this is not a light book to read by any standards.

Charles Colyott has this gift of inserting humor in the darkest moments, which breaks that almost unbearable tension. I loved this about him in the first book, and I love it so much more in Jianghu – because humor is sorely needed here. The tension breaking paragraphs are in the right places, reminding us to take a breath every now and then.

This book is a strong psychological thriller, bordering on horror at times, and while the pacing is a far cry away from the first book in the series, the author’s style is all there, maybe even more evolved than before.

Some people will prefer reading the first two books due to their lighter atmosphere and additional chuckling moments, while others will appreciate the heavy atmosphere that leaves you at the edge of your seat – breathless.

I am a bit of the second type, because gritty, fast paced action and strong tension are what keep me going with reading these books for the most part.

While we’re left waiting for the next major book in the Randall Lee series, I got to also read the next short novella, Eating Bitter, which again goes back to a lighter mood. I will review it soon.

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