Title: Rich Kill, Poor Kill (Inspector Low #2)
Author: Neil Humphreys
First published in 2015 ,republished on 30 March 2022
Genre: Mystery and Thrillers | Police Procedural
Rich Kill, Poor Kill is the second book in Neil Humphreys’ Inspector Low series.
The story begins with Aini and Maxwell in Maxwell’s apartment. Aini is his cleaner but he also pays her to have sex with him. She first teases him, then shorts the toaster. In a fit of rage, Maxwell picks up a screwdriver from his kitchen drawer and attacks Aini. She’s not dead yet but will be soon enough. Maxwell cannot have blood on his hands. He’s a stockbroker and ex-rugby champion.
He takes her to an alley behind a restaurant, dumps the kitchen waste (from the restaurant) onto her so that his DNA (if any) is washed away, and leaves her for dead.
Detective Sergeant Charles Chan (also known as Charlie Chan) is assigned the case. He misses his good friend and partner, Inspector Stanley Low. After the events at Marina Bay Sands (Book #1 – Marina Bay Sins), Low was transferred to cyber crimes unit. He now lives in his office – literally. Low is frustrated at his new designation -Deputy Director of Technology Crime Division. He dislikes desk job and takes out his frustration on his colleagues.
Stanley Low’s latest assignment is to monitor a website known as Singapore Truth. Harold Zhang runs the website and writes articles that are slightly inclined towards Xenophobia. Zhang’s wife had an affair with an Australian and this resulted in Zhang returning to Singapore dejected and frustrated. He decided to start a blog where he tells people how foreigners have taken over their jobs and ruined their culture.
Chan asks Low to help him out with the case – an Indonesian woman is found murdered in an alley. With no leads to proceed, Chan must take the help of Ah Lian, Low’s alter ego. Low visits Dragon Boy, a young man who was a member of Tiger Syndicate (the notorious gangster group that Low brought down) and is still loyal to Ah Lian aka Stanley Low. Dragon Boy suggests he will dig deeper and find the killer’s identity. He knows the man is a stockbroker but doesn’t know his name.
Dragon Boy visits Maxwell and ends up dead. His body is found in the reservoir. Low is definitely not happy that his CI and good friend was killed by the same man who murdered the cleaner. Soon, two more bodies are found.
I have read the first book in this series and I had trouble following the dialogs (as they were mostly in Singlish) and did not like the usage of swear words. However, things have changed in this book. Though we have a couple of swear words – Low loves them! – I did not have trouble following Singlish. Wah ah!
Rich Kill, Poor Kill is a gripping, mind-blowing and nail-biting thriller. We have a ruthless serial killer giving Singapore police a tough time. His first kill was a mistake. His second, a means to save himself. Then, it turned to be a habit. By the time he kills his fourth victim, he’s known as IKEA Killer, Singapore’s serial killer after a long time.
But as is the case with every criminal, he ends up making a mistake. Stanley Low does not work in Major Crimes anymore, not after what happened at Marina Bay Sands the last time. But when Dragon Boy is killed, Stanley wants to find the killer. Killing Dragon Boy made the chase personal. Stanley Low involves himself in the investigation, though Chan’s new boss Anthony Chua does not allow it. Finally, Low figures out the nationality of the killer – after all, it is an ang moh (foreigner).
Stanley Low is bipolar and goes for therapy once a week. After his undercover job as Ah Lian, Low almost lost it and was referred to a psychiatrist by the department. When Dragon Boy dies, Low vents out his frustration at his therapist and she does see his point of view – she understands where his anger’s coming from.
The second half of the book is where things get quite murky. The killer has a challenge for the Singapore Police. He knows he will be caught but he wants to die ‘famous.’ This comes at a cost, though. For Ah Lian. The ending is absolutely brilliant. Excellent storytelling and very well-portrayed characters. Also, both the books (I haven’t read book #3 yet) depict the other side of Singapore – poverty, prostitution, dirty politics and much more.
If you are looking for a gripping police procedural and do not mind a dash of coarse language, I recommend you to give Neil Humphreys’ Rich Kill, Poor Kill a try.
I received an ARC from Muswell Press and NetGalley in exchange for an honest and unbiased opinion.