Having really enjoyed Qiu's Years of Red Dust, I was hoping I would love this detective/mystery series too, and I am happy to report that I did. Aside from an intriguing crime that needs solving, this book provided a vivid picture of life in China in 1990. I know some readers hate it when authors give "too many" details and examples, but I love it - I am the reader that loved reading the list of things Lisbet Salander bought at IKEA, for example.* The writing really painted a picture of daily life for me, and made everything so vivid.
But don't let my mention of detailed descriptions dissuade you from reading this book if you are not a fan of it, I do think that the story speaks for itself and is an enjoyable read. I read this book in a pretty short amount of time because I was reading compulsively - I didn't want to put it down! I also really liked the main character a lot, and I look forward to seeing how his life develops in the next several books.
*Mainly because I like to imagine what I would do in the same situation, I guess... but this is far beyond the scope of this blog :)