Inspector Jian is a Chinese cop who thinks he's seen it all. But his search for his missing daughter brings him to the meanest streets he's ever faced - in rural England.
Migrant worker Ding Ming is distressed - his gangmaster's making demands, he owes a lot of money to the snakeheads and no one will tell him where his wife has been taken. Maybe England isn't the 'gold mountain' he was promised.
Two desperate men, uneasy allies in a baffling foreign land, are pitted against a band of ruthless people smugglers in this pacey, controversial thriller.
'THIS MAN HAVE COME FROM CHINA TO FIND HIS DAUGHTER WHO HAVE SOME TROUBLE. HE DO NOT SPEAK ENGLISH'
The germ for this story came from two real and disturbing events – the story of dozens of immigrants being found dead in the back of a container truck at Dover, and the mass drowning of Chinese cocklepickers, who were pretty much enslaved, in Morecambe Bay. I wanted to write about that kind of shocking exploitation because I thought it wasn't being talked about enough, and this is exactly the kind of thing Dickens would be writing if he were around today. But I was aware that crusading zeal doesn't make a book by itself, and worked hard to make it a good yarn – influenced strongly by the shlocky Hong Kong thrillers I had watched on the road in China. I like the main character and still intend to get round to a sequel. It remains the book of mine that people are most impressed with, and the proudest moment of my writing life was when the greatest crime writer of all time, Elmore Leonard, puffed it: 'Bad Traffic is a honey. Suspense that never loses its grip.'
“Following Chinese points of view in a thriller set in the UK is inspired writing. Bad Traffic is a honey: suspense that never loses its grip.”
— ELMORE LEONARD
“A unique story narrated through conflicting yet complementing perspectives. With vivid characterizations in an unprecedented milieu, and an odyssey against impossible odds, Simon Lewis succeeds in producing a moving, convincing thriller.”
— 'QIU XIAOLONG
“Bad Traffic is a thrilling read as well as a study of social problems and a people dislocated in a foreign country. Simon’s understanding and sensitivity toward the Chinese people and culture gives the book its memorable depth. His characters are keenly observed and deftly drawn. I finished the book from cover to cover in one sitting.
Lewis’s narrative is fast-moving and flawless. His story dances between the comedy of cultural confusion and the tragedy of broken lives and broken dreams. It’s said to be the first in a series about Inspector Jian. My advice is to get in on the ground floor.
— The Washington Post
Bad Traffic is a rabbit-hole that a reader is willingly sucked into, its fast pace and staccato style a preliminary enticement to deeper insights into the changing nature of Chinese mores.”
— LOS ANGELES TIMES
“An enjoyable culture clash thriller... An engaging and unusual tale.”
“Lewis’s aim was to write a book that was “fast-paced and pulpy, with a high body count and plenty of action”. He has certainly succeeded, but there’s more besides - dark comedy, sensitive characterisation and an incisive rendering of the desperation felt by beleaguered strangers in a foreign land.”
“A policeman from mainland China arrives in rural Britain in search of his missing daughter who is studying tourism at Leeds University, but hasn’t been seen for weeks. Jian does not speak a word of English but, using native cunning, he follows a trail that leads him into the murky world of illegal immigration and the Chinese snakeheads who front it. He forms an alliance with Ding Ming, a hapless Chinese immigrant who has escaped from his ‘master’ Kevin who is overseeing cockle pickers on Morecambe Bay. Through their eyes we are introduced to an alien Britain, a cold, frightening, unknown land where poor people who have been promised proper wages to send home are terrorised and exploited. If that sounds grim, it is; but this story is utterly compelling and not without humour.”
— THE DAILY MAIL
“... a fast-paced, refreshingly different thriller that owes much of its success to its two central characters.”
— SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
“Can a writer make a good book out of moral indignation? Lewis does a brilliant job, creating a fast-moving narrative out of Inspector Jian’s search for his daughter.”
“This is a fast-paced, powerhouse of a novel leaving the reader wanting to hear more of Inspector Jian.”
— TANGLED WEB
“Lewis offers not one, but two, outsiders - with every reason to mistrust each other - experiencing a culture clash with an entire country while engaged in a violent chase through an underworld that exists almost without reference to British society. As a bonus, he wraps his ingenuity in heady pulp prose and never stints on the shoot-outs.”
“Simon Lewis has a superb sense of pace. As Jian and Ding Li skitter about the country, pursued by or pursuing the men who run the illegal immigrants, it’s almost impossible to put the book down. It seemed unlikely that there could be any satisfactory resolution to the situation, but the ending is a tour de force which completely took me by surprise.”
— SUE MAGEE, THE BOOKBAG
“Top of the menu is a fabulous novel by Simon Lewis, which will be one of my outstanding books of 2008.... BAD TRAFFIC is an absolutely exceptional novel which had me mesmerised. It feels like a noir film, and has a distinct cinematic quality to it. The fact that the point of view is so firmly rooted with Jian and Ding Ming is what makes the book so powerful. Human trafficking and migrant workers are themes popping up frequently in modern crime fiction but Simon Lewis gives it a gritty and moving twist.”
— REVIEWING THE EVIDENCE
“Bad Traffic is a thrilling read as well as a study of social ! problems and a people dislocated in a foreign country. Simon’s understanding and sensitivity toward the Chinese people and culture gives the book its memorable depth. His characters are keenly observed and deftly drawn. I finished the book from cover to cover in one sitting.”
— DIANE WEI LIANG