VILLANELLE:SHANGHAI by LUKE JENNINGS

The problem with Kindle Singles is that I devour them far too quickly, and promptly end up wanting more.

Such was the case with “Villanelle : Shanghai,” the third in this gripping series about a beautiful killing machine.

Codename Villanelle.

Set in Shanghai, where – great fun – I am headed next week, I had of course intended to read the book while there, but…now I shall simply try and track down the locations, like a true Villanelle groupie.  I shall use passages like this to guide me:

“…Fat Panda walks unhurriedly through the evening haze of the Pudong district, gazing around him with admiration at the city’s trophy skyscrapers, at the soaring glass column of the Shanghai Tower, the silver-blue sliver of the World Financial Centre, and the vast, pagoda-like Jin Mao Tower…”

But I digress.  Back to the novella.

Villanelle is the professional name of Oxana Voronstsova, a beautiful young woman who kills for a living.

But not any old killings.

She is a contract killer of the highest order.

In the opening moments of the story we meet Fat Panda, a member of the White Dragon Crew, who

“are not, as some have thought, merely a gratuitously destructive team of hackers and anarchists,  They are an elite cyber-warfare unit of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army, engaged in targeted attacks on Western corporations, military intelligence systems and infrastructure.”

And there we are, plunged immediately into the action.

Western governments are deeply worried about the political fallout of accusing the Chinese of huge-scale cyber crimes.

Not so the ultra-secretive Twelve, “a discreet inner circle, unknown to the public at large, it is made up of top-level figures from the corporate, political and intelligence spheres.”

The Twelve’s “self-appointed function is to intervene behind the scenes of international affair in order to ensure the continued supremacy of globalised capitalism…” 

The Twelve vote, unanimously and democratically, to kill Fat Panda, and so Villanelle arrives in Shanghai.

And I am going to leave you right there.

This is (sadly) only a Kindle Single, so a shorter read than a full novel, and I really wouldn’t want to spoil one moment of your reading fun.

Recommended.

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