Lydia Chin’s been kidnapped, and Bill Smith has only 12 action-packed hours to find her.
The robotic voice in an early-morning phone call informs New York private eye Bill Smith that Lydia Chin, his partner in more ways than one (The Shanghai Moon, 2009, etc.), has been snatched by someone who insists that Bill follow a series of cryptic clues if he wants to see her again. The deadline-juiced taunts, a specialty of Jeffery Deaver, were a cliché long ago, but this time there are a couple of nifty new twists. The very first set of clues send Bill, together with Lydia’s cousin Linus Wong and his resourceful friend Trella Bartoli, to a defunct bar in Red Hook, where he finds a dead Chinese hooker, her very live pimp and his goons and a police cordon Bill miraculously manages to slip. “Now you can’t go to the cops plus you have to dodge them!” gloats the kidnapper, tactfully omitting the fact that Bill has also become persona non grata among Chinatown’s human-smuggling community. Soon after a second set of clues sends Bill to a windy Manhattan rooftop, he figures out who his tormentor is. But he’s still condemned to spend the rest of his day racing around New York trying to rescue other Chinese illegals and get a bead on the kidnapper while dodging cops and smugglers alike.
All the twists you’d expect from Rozan, but speeded up within an inch of their lives, just like the summer movie this yarn ought to spawn.