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Space Mountain Blue Streets of Shanghai

By Tori Eldridge

Author Photo: Tori Eldridge

Tori Eldridge

As I wrote my fourth Lily Wong thriller and later brainstormed ideas with my publisher for THE NINJA’S OATH book cover, one color always came to mind…

More than the hot pink neon illuminating the Oriental Pearl TV Tower across the Huangpu River, more than the golden bank buildings shining on The Bund at night, more than the red tiled roofs in the Former French Concession, or the dingy cement-gray of the shikumen lane communities…

Whenever I picture Shanghai, I remember the jolt of adrenaline walking down the streets when everything turned blue.

As Lily Wong was about to hop on a plane in Hong Kong for Los Angeles in The Ninja Betrayed (book three), her father’s head cook and former triad enforcer, Lee Chang, sent a text asking her to come to Shanghai instead. His twelve-year-old grandniece had disappeared and his estranged brother feared the worst. Although THE NINJA’S OATH is fourth in the series, the thrilling adventure can be read on its own.

Blue Shanghai Streets

Blue Shanghai Streets

I snapped the above photo on my visit to Shanghai and sent my ninja heroine into the blue-tinted night.

Constellations of light whizzed past my window as we sped across Yan’an Elevated Road back to Uncle’s apartment in the Former French Concession. Red, yellow, white, and green mixed with the Space Mountain blue illuminating the underside of the highway and cast the FFC in the familiar purplish hue. When we descended onto the streets and drove away from the retail zone, the brilliance grew more intimate with smaller shop signs and twinkling trees. That said, even the darkest alleys and shikumen lanes were illuminated by Shanghai’s urban glow. The apartment complexes on Uncle’s boulevard shone most brightly of all.

From the moment Lily touches down onto mainland China soil, she and Lee Chang (AKA Uncle) scramble for information in a deadly race against time.

I held my temper until we had escaped the dubious karaoke bar, then turned my wrath on Lee. “Your gang prostitutes women?”

He grabbed my arm and yanked me down the sidewalk. “They are not my gang anymore. And from what I’ve heard, the Happy Lounge is a legitimate business.”

“Yeah, right. A legit biz with sex workers on the side. What did you mean about the girls Fong didn’t hire? Do the Scorpions traffic children as well?”

“Aiya, Lily. They dip their fingers into many pots. I stay out of their business. They stay out of mine. Or they did before I stirred up trouble Book Cover Image: THE NINJA’S OATHhelping you.”

Things heat up when they’re joined by the assassin J Tran and thwarted by Chang’s dissentious relatives whose family history is interwoven with Shanghai.

“You and your brother aren’t the only ones making enemies,” Tran said. “The Chang family has been pissing off the wrong people since your grandfather started idolizing Chiang Kai-shek.”

Tran turned to me. “The general enlisted the notorious Green Gang to purge the Communists from Shanghai. They massacred thousands in what became known as the White Terror purge. Apparently, some of the officials still hold a grudge.”

As Best Thriller Books wrote in a review for THE NINJA’S OATH, “The dichotomy of family and violence makes for an exceedingly absorbing read.”

THE NINJA’S OATH Oath hit the shelves in September from Agora/Polis Books with a cover that captures Shanghai’s vibrancy and speed. As ninja, triad, and assassin join forces against their deadliest foes yet, an ominous scorpion hovers, ready to sting.


 

Tori Eldridge is the bestselling author of THE NINJA’S OATH, book four in the Lily Wong thriller series, twice nominated for the Anthony Award, Lefty and Macavity Awards finalist, and winner of the 2021 Crimson Scribe for Best Book of the Year. She also authored the Brazilian dark fantasy thriller, Dance Among the Flames. Her shorter works appear in numerous anthologies including Crime Hits Home, Weird Tales Magazine, and the upcoming Joe Ledger: Unbreakable. Tori holds a fifth-degree black belt in To-Shin Do ninja martial arts. Learn more about her at ToriEldridge.com.

 

Space Mountain Blue Streets of Shanghai

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