This first-novelist's thriller is a little too cutely media-glutted (""HIS pupils were cerulean marbles set in the whitest whites this side of a Visine commercial"") and much, much too long for its own good; but it does boast an intricate, flashy core. Raymond Huang is a freelance writer who, in Vientiane, Laos, has the bad luck to see an American killed in the streets--and he makes things even worse by staying curious over the circumstances of the killing long after his return to the States. So, naturally, he probes and investigates, turning up all sorts of high-level evil. At first it seems that an oil company--Onyxx--is involved, then maybe the CIA, then a bit of double-agentry, the Red Chinese, and finally . . . a wild black mail plot: someone has obtained signed confessions of malfeasance by five international super-bigshots. All this builds nicely to about the midway point, but then it gets too jet-hoppingly frantic, flailing about with irrelevant Watergate/Nixon material and a finale with Chairman Mao. This kitchen-sink plotting suggests a book written as a day-by-day invention upon the morning newspaper, and fanciers of tightly-woven suspense will find little to like here; still, more tolerant, easygoing thriller-ites may enjoy ducking down Chiu's blind alleys, which twist around with considerable humor and entertaining energy.