Dragon's Back, A.C. Edwards

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

Set in Hong Kong, DRAGON'S BACK is the first novel in the series introducing PI Galahad Jones. The series currently includes the second novel, DRAGON'S CLAW, and third, DRAGON'S EYE. Galahad Jones is a personally conflicted sort of a man, his business is struggling, he's got a gambling debt that would choke a horse, a big problem with people who want their money or else, and a nice line in female sidekicks, from his unimpressed office administrator to his apprentice Joey Loh - a woman who takes "sidekick" to a whole new level.

It's worth mentioning at this point that the author of these books is a former policeman, paratrooper and special forces office who, whilst serving in the Australian Army, was deployed across both South East Asia and the South West Pacific. He knows about action, and with his work including close-protection of High Net Worth individuals, he knows a thing or two about pressure. This comes across very clearly in both the action and reaction scenes. There's something very real about Galahad Jones, and Joey Loh. They are brave, but not completely crazy, resourceful but not totally bullet proof, tough as nails and complicated as hell. Very human characters needless to say.

There is a lot going on in the plot of DRAGON'S BACK, right from the start, when Jones has a case which seems pretty straightforward - a husband whose wife suspects is having an affair - until it becomes anything but, and things start to collide, the death of an undocumented Cambodian girl, which leads to a human trafficking ring that ends up with a lot of bad people circling Jones. Including a loan shark that wants his debt paid, two of the biggest criminals in Hong Kong in a battle for control, and a corrupt cop lurking in the background. All of which add up to a big headache for Jones, Loh and anybody at all seen to be on their side.

Alongside the very high levels of action, mayhem, rushing and/or sneaking about, the threats, the fights, the escapes by the skin of your teeth moments, there is detail here about Galahad Jones, that unlikely name, his sister Prudence, their family backgrounds, and their lives in general. Interspersed with this is a really strong sense of a fascinating place, albeit from the slightly less "touristy" viewpoint than you'd expect in a brochure.

The next two books in the series are queued up, and whilst some hefty queue jumping is going to be required to get them up the priority list, the urge to do so is pretty strong. The opening salvo in the Galahad Jones series might have gotten a tad busy at times, but the pace held up, the stories of everyone were compelling, the action worked, and there's nothing like a bit of high octane, no holds barred, peril to wile away the winter nights.

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A woman wants her errant husband tracked, an undocumented Cambodian girl is found dead, the city’s two biggest criminal societies vie for power, a loan shark wants his money back, and a corrupt cop is pulling strings from the shadows. It’s just another day in Hong Kong.

Former cop Galahad Jones’ struggling business as a private investigator was on life-support. With no friends to speak of and a gambling debt that, if called in, could see him floating face down in Hong Kong harbour, things weren’t good.

Reluctantly taking a job to investigate a cheating husband, Galahad is suddenly catapulted into the deadly world of Hong Kong’s criminal underbelly. Conspiracy and betrayal reign as he finds himself in a life and death chase through the mean streets of Kowloon and The Island to bring down a human trafficking ring and, hopefully, keep his head on his shoulders in the process.

With the help of his apprentice, Joey Loh, and mysterious girlfriend Angel Yeung, Galahad must confront his past, Hong Kong triads and official corruption to free the girls and clear his murdered father’s name. Dark forces are arrayed against him and Galahad is never quite sure who is friend and who is foe.

One thing is for certain... Galahad Jones will do whatever it takes, no matter the personal cost.

Review Dragon's Back, A.C. Edwards
Karen Chisholm
Friday, May 3, 2024
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