by Ed Lin ‧ RELEASE DATE: July 29, 2014
The teeming Taipei setting and the tormented hero combine to create a furious energy that transcends a whodunit plot too...
The creator of the Robert Chow mysteries (One Red Bastard, 2012, etc.), set in New York’s Chinatown in the 1970s, turns to contemporary Taiwan for this ambitious, muddled tale of murder in a culture that sees itself as both the center of the world and overshadowed by its powerful mainland rival.
In the seven years since Cheng Jing-nan last saw Julia Huang, he’s thought about her every day. After going through schools in Taipei together, the two departed for the U.S., Jing-nan for UCLA, Julia for NYU. Both of them ended up back in Taipei when Julia flunked out of college and Jing-nan returned to his father’s side during his last illness and then took over both Unknown Pleasures, the family’s food stand, and the mountain of debt his family had run up. But they didn’t end up together, although Jing-nan always intended to return to Julia the minute he was in a position to marry her. Now he’s missed his chance. Julia’s been found shot to death at the side of a highway in the scanty costume of a betel-nut girl, one step removed from a prostitute. Dazed with grief, Jing-nan seems like the most unlikely investigator ever. Nor is he the cleverest or the most resourceful detective. But his questioning of his old schoolmates gradually reveals unwelcome news about some of the people he thought he’d known best, including Julia herself. At the same time, his sex-first romance with music-store clerk Nancy Han, formerly the mistress of a disgraced financier, forces him to face some equally unsparing revelations about himself and the love he cherished for a woman he hadn’t seen since they graduated from high school together.The teeming Taipei setting and the tormented hero combine to create a furious energy that transcends a whodunit plot too mundane even to capture Jing-nan’s full attention.
Pub Date: July 29, 2014
Page Count: 336
Publisher: Soho Crime
Review Posted Online: June 18, 2014
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 2014
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by Kathy Reichs ‧ RELEASE DATE: March 17, 2020
Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
Another sweltering month in Charlotte, another boatload of mysteries past and present for overworked, overstressed forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.
A week after the night she chases but fails to catch a mysterious trespasser outside her town house, some unknown party texts Tempe four images of a corpse that looks as if it’s been chewed by wild hogs, because it has been. Showboat Medical Examiner Margot Heavner makes it clear that, breaking with her department’s earlier practice (The Bone Collection, 2016, etc.), she has no intention of calling in Tempe as a consultant and promptly identifies the faceless body herself as that of a young Asian man. Nettled by several errors in Heavner’s analysis, and even more by her willingness to share the gory details at a press conference, Tempe launches her own investigation, which is not so much off the books as against the books. Heavner isn’t exactly mollified when Tempe, aided by retired police detective Skinny Slidell and a host of experts, puts a name to the dead man. But the hints of other crimes Tempe’s identification uncovers, particularly crimes against children, spur her on to redouble her efforts despite the new M.E.’s splenetic outbursts. Before he died, it seems, Felix Vodyanov was linked to a passenger ferry that sank in 1994, an even earlier U.S. government project to research biological agents that could control human behavior, the hinky spiritual retreat Sparkling Waters, the dark web site DeepUnder, and the disappearances of at least four schoolchildren, two of whom have also turned up dead. And why on earth was Vodyanov carrying Tempe’s own contact information? The mounting evidence of ever more and ever worse skulduggery will pull Tempe deeper and deeper down what even she sees as a rabbit hole before she confronts a ringleader implicated in “Drugs. Fraud. Breaking and entering. Arson. Kidnapping. How does attempted murder sound?”Forget about solving all these crimes; the signal triumph here is (spoiler) the heroine’s survival.
Pub Date: March 17, 2020
Page Count: 352
Review Posted Online: Dec. 22, 2019
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2020
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by James Patterson ‧ RELEASE DATE: Nov. 5, 2003
As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir...
Dr. Alex Cross has left Metro DC Homicide for the FBI, but it’s business as usual in this laughably rough-hewn fairy tale of modern-day white slavery.
According to reliable sources, more people are being sold into slavery than ever before, and it all seems to be going down on the FBI’s watch. Atlanta ex-reporter Elizabeth Connolly, who looks just like Claudia Schiffer, is the ninth target over the past two years to be abducted by a husband-and-wife pair who travel the country at the behest of the nefarious Pasha Sorokin, the Wolf of the Red Mafiya. The only clues are those deliberately left behind by the kidnappers, who snatch fashion designer Audrey Meek from the King of Prussia Mall in full view of her children, or patrons like Audrey’s purchaser, who ends up releasing her and killing himself. Who you gonna call? Alex Cross, of course. Even though he still hasn’t finished the Agency’s training course, all the higher-ups he runs into, from hardcases who trust him to lickspittles seething with envy, have obviously read his dossier (Four Blind Mice, 2002, etc.), and they know the new guy is “close to psychic,” a “one-man flying squad” who’s already a legend, “like Clarice Starling in the movies.” It’s lucky that Cross’s reputation precedes him, because his fond creator doesn’t give him much to do here but chase suspects identified by obliging tipsters and worry about his family (Alex Jr.’s mother, alarmed at Cross’s dangerous job, is suing for custody) while the Wolf and his cronies—Sterling, Mr. Potter, the Art Director, Sphinx, and the Marvel—kidnap more dishy women (and the occasional gay man) and kill everybody who gets in their way, and quite a few poor souls who don’t.As in summer movies, a triple dose of violence conceals the absence of real menace when neither victims nor avengers stir the slightest sympathy.
Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2003
Page Count: 400
Publisher: Little, Brown
Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2003
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