The search for a missing girl sends Inspector Lu Fei undercover into the wild corners of Myanmar and the compound of the deadly and mysterious woman warlord responsible for the illegal trafficking of exotic animals and possibly more in the next book from Brian Klingborg, WILD PREY.
Brian Klingborg recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing his latest thriller, WILD PREY:
Which took shape first: plot, character, or setting?
This is a continuation of my series set in modern China and featuring a police inspector named Lu Fei. I started writing just as the corona epidemic was hitting its peak, and although I was hopeful the worst would be over by the time the book was published, I knew I had to address the pandemic, at least in passing, in my novel. This led me to think of a plot that involved the trafficking of exotic animals for medicinal and eating purposes, which in turn led me from northern China into the untamed forests of Myanmar.
What attracts you to this book’s genre?
As a reader, I enjoy well-plotted thrillers with interesting and unusual characters. As a writer, I try to write the types of stories I would enjoy reading, but specifically for this series, I incorporate my experiences living in Asia and studying Chinese history, language, religion, and society.
What was the biggest challenge this book presented? What about the biggest opportunity?
I try to create plots that are exciting yet plausible. This requires me to spend a lot of time researching arcane and sometimes unsavory topics, such as illegal animal trafficking and its relation to drug smuggling and politics in southeast Asia. Keeping things moving at a good clip while rooted in reality was my biggest challenge for WILD PREY.
Was there anything new you discovered, or that surprised you, as you wrote this book?
Lots of things, but specifically, how drugs and animal trafficking relate to politics and conflict in Myanmar—and the connection between the Chinese government and Burmese warlords.
No spoilers, but what can you tell us about your book that we won’t find in the jacket copy or the PR material?
WILD PREY provides lots of interesting and gritty details about drugs, illegal animal trafficking, and sex trafficking in China and southeast Asia.
What authors or books have influenced your career as a writer, and why?
Cormac McCarthy and Elmore Leonard for their simplicity and focus on plot, action, and dialogue over long, literary descriptions.
What’s the one question you wish someone would ask you about this book or your work in general? And please answer the question too!
Q: Why do I think more people haven’t discovered my first book in the series, Thief of Souls? I have some theories:
1) Title was a little vague.
2) Maybe readers aren’t as interested in reading about contemporary China as I anticipated; or maybe I’m just slightly ahead of the rise in interest.
3) Some readers do not like a non “own voices” author writing about different countries and cultures.
Brian Klingborg has both a B.A. (University of California, Davis) and an M.A. (Harvard) in East Asian Studies and spent years living and working in Asia. He is the author of the Inspector Lu Fei mysteries, set in China, and a standalone novel, Kill Devil Falls.
To learn more about the author and his work, please visit his website.