Kirkus Star


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Strong hard-cover debut set in Houston's Vietnamese community, where pawnbroker Daniel Greer's business is going downhill because of Linh, the Vietnamese competitor who's across the street. Greet appeals to Tranh Van Khai, local ganglord, to intercede, then backs away when Khai insists that he will kill Linh, who has refused to meet regular payoffs (Khai had kidnapped Linh's wife and is returning her to him one finger at a time, as a lesson). Then Greet is beaten up, and his wife Carol, daughter of a city councilman, is kidnapped--Khai plans on using her to force her father councilman to eliminate Tang, a rival warlord. Caught in this cross fire, Greer and his Vietnamese/Capone-savvy clerk Thien become enmeshed in two-country politics; then Greer storms Khai's house, but still can't win his wife's release until Linh's murder. Meanwhile, Khai arranges Tang's murder, while Thien masterminds a confrontation between Greer and Linh, then organizes a Vietnamese attack force to go after Khai. Torture and massacre follow; and by the time Greer and Carol are reunited, it's clear that Young Thien will wind up either on murderer's row or in the Oval Office. A bit splatter-prone but solid--with a sympathetic and sensitively portrayed Greer at center.

Pub Date: Nov. 21st, 1989
Publisher: St. Martin's