(From The New York Times. Read the complete article at the link below.)
Zhou Haohui, the latest author to catch the wave of Chinese crime fiction crashing on international shores, had an unsatisfying job teaching engineering at a university outside of Beijing in 2007 when he began publishing — online — the novels that would earn him a cultlike following in China.
These books — a trilogy about a police hunt for a vengeful killer — went into print two years later, ultimately selling more than 1.2 million copies. They inspired a serial on the streaming site owned by Tencent, the social media giant, that has, to date, been watched a staggering 2.4 billion times, according to his agent, China Educational Publications Import & Export Corporation. A feature film went into production in April.
Now the first book of Mr. Zhou’s trilogy, “Death Notice,” will be released on June 5 in the United States, and in Britain next week. The American publisher, Doubleday, hopes it will vault him into the ranks of other contemporary Chinese novelists — like Qiu Xiaolong, He Jiahong and A Yi — who have reached a global audience with stories from China’s criminal underbelly.
Crime, Mr. Zhou says, is a universal theme, which is why detective stories or police thrillers (even from an authoritarian political system like China’s) can more easily transcend cultural divides than, say, historical fiction.