Skip to Main Content

Shanghai

A Novel

See More Retailers

About The Book

In this dazzling thriller, New York Times bestselling author Joseph Kanon gives us his richest setting yet: pre-World War II Shanghai, where glamour and squalor exist side by side and murder is just a cost of doing business. A love affair against all odds, a city dancing on the rim of a volcano—Shanghai is the story of a political haven that becomes a minefield of conflicting loyalties.

After the violence of Kristallnacht (1938), European Jews, now desperate to emigrate, found the consular doors of the world closed to them. Only one port required no entry visa: Shanghai, a self-governing Western trading enclave in what was technically Chinese territory, a political anomaly that became an escape hatch—if you were lucky enough to afford a ticket on one of the great Lloyd liners sailing to the East and safety.

Daniel Lohr was one of the lucky ones—lucky enough to have escaped the Gestapo when his colleagues in the resistance were caught, lucky to have an uncle waiting in Shanghai, lucky to find a casual shipboard flirtation turn unexpectedly passionate. But even lucky refugees have to confront the reality of Shanghai. With all their assets, and passports confiscated by the Nazis, they arrive penniless and stateless in a tumultuous, nearly lawless city notorious for vice. When you can sink fast, how far are you willing to go to survive? What lines do you cross? As Daniel tries to navigate his way through his uncle’s world in Shanghai’s fabled nightlife, he finds himself increasingly ensnared in a maze where politics and crime are two sides of the same shiny coin. The trick, his uncle tells him, is to stay one step ahead. But how do you stay ahead of murder? How do you outrun your own past?

About The Author

© Chad Griffith

Joseph Kanon is the Edgar Award–winning author of Los Alamos and nine other novels: The Prodigal SpyAlibiStardustIstanbul PassageLeaving BerlinDefectorsThe AccompliceThe Berlin Exchange, and The Good German, which was made into a major motion picture starring George Clooney and Cate Blanchett. Other awards include the Hammett Award of the International Association of Crime Writers and the Human Writes Award of the Anne Frank Foundation. He lives in New York City.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (June 25, 2024)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668006429

Browse Related Books

Raves and Reviews

“With Shanghai, Mr. Kanon has given readers one of his most satisfying historical thrillers to date.” —Wall Street Journal

“Kanon has a great ear for noir-ish, hardboiled quips and a gift for believably plunging his characters into the relentless flow of historic skullduggery.” —Minneapolis Star-Tribune

“Kanon has selected a perfect location for intrigue, danger, and treacherous political dynamics. The strength of Shanghai is in its skillful plotting, with numerous twists and turns as befitting this tumultuous period in the city’s history. Kanon ably depicts the combustible elements fighting each other as well as the contrasts between the rich and the impoverished population. The novel teems with scheming characters, feints and deceptions, and an interwoven romance which will gratify readers.” —New York Journal of Books

“The threats, narrow misses, and one-liners pack a punch in this tale of loyalty and survival.” —Christian Science Monitor

"Joseph Kanon's novels of wartime crime and espionage inhabit a perfectly evoked intersection between noir and Greeneland. . . . [his] cabaret is always a pleasure." —The Times (UK)

"Fascinating and tautly suspenseful . . . Joseph Kanon is known for his elegantly written, impressively immersive World War II thrillers, and Shanghai is no exception. . . . [he] transports readers to 1939 Shanghai, conjur[ing] the city’s veneer of glamour, and the danger and desperation festering beneath, with his trademark skill and verve. Shanghai artfully balances violence, romance, and edgy suspense in a layered and compelling tale of an extraordinary place and time in human history.” —BookPage (starred review)

"Joseph Kanon makes Shanghai a Casablanca-worthy setting for World War II-era intrigue. . . . Start casting the movie version now." —Parade

"Jewish refugees fleeing Nazi Europe settle in Shanghai in Kanon’s latest novel, a deeply engrossing tale of corruption, violence, and doomed love. . . . Kanon always situates his political clashes and spy games in a fully realized human drama. Shanghai proves one of his most powerful stories to date." —CrimeReads

“As in his spy novels, Kanon demonstrates a mastery of closed-in drama. Such is the jabbing understatement of the dialogue—what’s withheld matters more than what’s said—that it holds you in suspense as much as any action scene. The contrast between his impeccable control and the nightmarish chaos of this time and place gives things a powerful edge. Kanon goes to China with stirring results." —Kirkus (starred review)

A fast-paced thriller featuring vice, corruption and espionage in Shanghai before the start of World War II when Jewish people fled persecution in Germany." —AARP

“[A] superbly written WWII espionage thriller. . . . From the opening paragraph, it’s clear readers are in expert hands: Kanon writes with a master’s touch, flexing his gift for atmosphere and crafting characters who seem capable of walking off the page and taking a seat next to the reader. With pulse pounding suspense, top-shelf dialogue, and a palpable evocation of its period setting, this is as good as crime fiction gets.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Edgar–winning Kanon plays global and personal intrigues to perfection here. Fans of historical thrillers will appreciate Kanon’s ability to cloak betrayals with the period’s looming uncertainty and evoke Shanghai’s particular vitality.” —Booklist (starred review)

Resources and Downloads

High Resolution Images

More books from this author: Joseph Kanon