book cover of The Skull Mantra
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The Skull Mantra

(The first book in the Shan Tao Yun Mystery series)
A novel by

2000 CWA Gold Dagger (shortlist)
2000 Edgar Award for Best First Novel

When a headless corpse is found by a prison work gang on a windy Tibetan mountainside, veteran police inspector Shan Tao Yun might seem the perfect man to solve the crime - except that he himself if serving an indefinite sentence in the gulag for offending the Party in Beijing. Desperate to close the case before an American tourist delegation arrives, the district commander has no choice but to grant him a temporary release. Embittered about everything except his compulsion to find the truth, the brilliant Shan faces an ultimatum: solve the case fast and in a politically expedient fashion, or the Tibetan priests in his work brigade will be punished.When the early evidence shows that the killer was an ancient Buddhist demon and party officials try to thwart his investigation by arresting an innocent monk, Shan is thrown into a malestrom of political and religious intrigue involving American mining interests, Tibetan sorcerers, corrupt party officials, a secret illegal monastery and the Buddhist resistance movement.

Genre: Mystery

Praise for this book

"The Skull Mantra is an incandescent thriller, a compelling, lyrical journey through the harsh, beautiful world of Tibet. Pattison has made his mark the first time out." - Greg Iles

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