Thursday, September 19, 2013

Hour of the Rat by Lisa Brackmann

Hour of the Rat, Lisa Brackmann.  New York:  Soho Press, Inc., 2013.  e-book, 313 pps.

In this second book of a series, Lisa Brackmann continues the story of Ellie McEnroe.  She is still living in Beijing.  Her mother is visiting.  Mom is a Christian who attends a church back home.  While visiting her daughter, Mom falls for Ellie's creepy neighbor hard.  Ellie is not happy with her mother's propensity for all things of a Christian nature.  She is extremely unhappy with her mother's choice of lousy men.

Her war buddy Doug a.k.a. Dog, Turner calls and wants to know where his brother is.  The brother Jason is missing in China somewhere.  Not taking his bipolar meds.

Ellie gets a visit by the Domestic Security Department.  They are not happy that her artist friend Zhang Jianli is still underground somewhere.  She is not happy to have been dragged off to some stark business hotel to have tea and a talk with these two guys.

The computer game is in Hour of the Rat also but it does not figure as prominently.  There is travel too, and action.  And a dog.

Monsanto is in this novel.  Or a company with a Chinese name that sounds very much like it operates in the same way that Monsanto wants to.  Sell seeds to farmers that will not die when farmers use the company pesticides and herbicides [but all other plants and weeds will].  The genetic engineering of the seeds is part of tweaking the proper response to the company pesticides and herbicides.  Prohibit farmers and gardeners from harvesting the vegetables for seeds.  If you want them, you have to buy the seeds or seedlings all over again next year.  Big profits for the company.  Business is business.  In the novel, just as in real life, the company is a villain.  GMOs are bad, m'kay?

sapphoqreviews says:  Lisa Brackmann has proven herself to be a great writer of intricacies with this third novel.  I like her books.  Her characters come off as real.  The sense of place in Hour of the Rat catapulted me into destinations I'd never been to [yet?].  Thoroughly enjoyable.  If you aren't reading Lisa Brackmann's thrillers, you really ought to be.  Highly recommended. 

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