JADE by Gwen Davis


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 Herein, an effort by Davis (The Princess and the Pauper, Silk Lady, etc.) to meld the crime and glitz fiction genres, using as glue a Kama Sutra of kinky sex, a sampan full of off- kilter characters, and an exotic backdrop--Hong Kong, ``a city on the edge, emotionally and geographically,'' approaching its l997 unification with mainland China. Hong Kong Police Superintendent Clement Leslie is unmarried, devoted to serving his Queen; he's a man who prefers old Fred Astaire movies to pornography, and is probably too sensitive for his job, which, as this book opens, includes surveying the remains of two white teen-agers who have been sexually abused and brutally murdered while making love in a park. The dead girl's mom, classy Maggie Evans, a designer of jade jewelry, blames herself for her daughter's slaying, since she herself is Hong Kong's most inexhaustible nymphomaniac. Meanwhile, to the city on the edge come: recent widow and song-writer Claire Black, easy prey of the British ``toyboy'' and hare-brained financial schemer James Bingham; Louise Felder, a tough-skinned, foul mouthed Hollywood agent who represents an Asian ex-porn star and who does her best to infuriate the Hong Kong Mafia; and Erica Thorn, beautiful bait in a trap set by a group of angry Philadelphia divorcÇes to catch a rich man and then suck him dry via Erica. And that's only a few of the people in this over spiced stew that wastes most of its time introducing readers to its characters' sex obsessions, leaving the murder plot to go bad before it ever ripens. When Leslie at last pulls the culprits out of his hat, they turn out to be the teen-age members of an Asian tap dance club! Davis hasn't managed to infuse her no-show plot with sense or suspense or to create characters worth caring for; in fact, the only thing there's no dearth of here is soft-core porn.

Pub Date: May 14th, 1991
ISBN: 0-446-51584-1
Page count: 384pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1991


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