In Vancouver, an ex–drug dealer’s plan to clean up his act is complicated by a vengeful former partner, a corpse in the bathroom, and other outrageous obstacles.
Jake Constable’s housesitting gig for wealthy Mickey Wu, “the Underwear King of Beijing,” is a good move in support of Jake’s resolve to leave his criminal past behind. But when his friend Richard, who co-owns Buff, a cleaning business, with Dante, his partner in love and business, convinces Jake to throw a party, that’s a bad move, because Jake’s former criminal crony, “The Norwegian,” shows up uninvited. Matters go from bad to worse when Richard finds an anonymous corpse in the bathroom. Arriving home unexpectedly, Wu throws the duo out, and Jake’s ex-wife, Nina, a realtor who got him the housesitting job, offers no help. To top it all off, when Jake gets home, he finds that his place has been ransacked. The next day, The Norwegian shows up with a vague but not idle threat. The whole incident shines an unfortunate light on Wu, the chairman of the title, whose possibly less-than-legitimate business operations occasion a surprise visit from two officious Chinese men in suits. Then Dante goes missing. With such a long investigative to-do list, including identifying the corpse, it’s hard to know where to begin. Is the addition of Dante’s bubbly upstairs neighbor and bestie Wendy a help or a distraction?
Reed’s lively mystery debut may be overloaded with colorful characters and tricky subplots, but too much of a good thing is still a good thing.