NYPD Detective Jack Yu scours Chinatown to find out who killed a man whose body was found miles away.
When a pair of Homicide North officers fish a John Doe out of the Harlem River, the call goes out to Jack. Why reach all the way down to the 5th Precinct when the Big Apple is crawling with cops? Because someone thinks the department needs a Chinese—um, make that an Asian—investigator on the case. Maybe the higher-ups put a premium on ethnic sensitivity. Maybe they’ve read Jack’s first three adventures (Red Jade, 2012, etc.). Whatever the reason, they certainly get their money’s worth. Jack isn’t the one who discovers that deliveryman Jun Wah Zhang was stabbed to death, but he is the one who establishes that the dead man is indeed Jun Wah Zhang and that he’s also Yao Sing Chang, an orphan from Poon Yew village whose trail halfway around the world ended before he turned 24. Consulting with elderly Chinatown wise woman Ah Por and his old friend Billy Bow, who reluctantly takes time out from drinking and whoring to steer him toward leads, Jack retraces Sing’s footsteps through four restaurants owned by James “Bossy” Gee, director of Dynasty Noodles and a hard man to cross. He finds the young man who was beaten until he gave up Sing’s identity to his killers. But he doesn’t find a motive for Sing’s death—not until every other piece of this untidy puzzle has fallen into place.
The plot is familiar and forgettable, but Jack’s odyssey is consistently fast-paced, edgy and flavorful. Sometimes it really is better to travel hopefully than to arrive.