Chinatown Beat (Jack Yu Series #1)

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Overview

Detective Jack Yu grew up in Chinatown. Some of his friends are criminals now; some are dead. Jack has just been transferred to his old neighborhood, where 99 percent of the cops are white. Unlike the others, confused by the residents who speak another language even when they’re speaking English, Jack knows what’s going on.

He is confronted with a serial rapist who preys on young Chinese girls. Then Uncle Four, an elderly and respected leader of the charitable Hip Ching Society ...

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Chinatown Beat (Jack Yu Series #1)

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Overview

Detective Jack Yu grew up in Chinatown. Some of his friends are criminals now; some are dead. Jack has just been transferred to his old neighborhood, where 99 percent of the cops are white. Unlike the others, confused by the residents who speak another language even when they’re speaking English, Jack knows what’s going on.

He is confronted with a serial rapist who preys on young Chinese girls. Then Uncle Four, an elderly and respected leader of the charitable Hip Ching Society and member of the Hong Kong-based Red Circle Triad, is gunned down. Jack learns that benevolent Uncle Four had a gorgeous young mistress imported from Hong Kong. And she is missing.

To solve these crimes, Jack turns to an elderly fortune teller, an old friend of his, in addition to employing modern police methods. This debut mystery power-fully conveys the sights, sounds, and smells of Chinatown, as well as the attitudes of its inhabitants.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Chinatown Beat

“Chang has a cool, measured style that lets in some light . . . on a society that lives by its own rules.”
The New York Times Book Review
 
“For readers who relish noir suspense, it doesn’t get much better than this stunning novel.”
Boston Globe
 
“All the expected locales are here—gambling and dance halls, brothels, secret societies—but the author, who grew up in Chinatown, keeps things fresh by inserting Chinese phrases and explicating cultural folkways on nearly every page . . . This is a nasty, terse slice of noir, and Yu is a fellow whose adventures should be worth following.”
Washington Post Book World
 
Chinatown Beat is a classic noir, filled with longing, violence, and that uniquely urban melancholy, but it also brings something new to the table, a loving specificity of a people and place, the multicultures of New York’s Chinatown, that has rarely if ever been encountered in fiction before. A real discovery.”
—Richard Price, author of Lush Life, a New York Times Notably Book of the Year

“Here’s a dark slice of New York’s Chinatown that most of us . . . have probably never seen. Henry Chang takes us on an unforgettable guided tour of its lower depths. In a field awash with pallid noir thrillers, this one is the real thing. A genuine winner.”
—Herbert H. Lieberman, author of City of the Dead and Shadow Dancers 

“A dramatic evocation of the exotic . . . More rewarding than a trip to Chinatown.”
—Qiu Xiaolong, author of Death of a Red Herione

“Chang’s debut novel is one of this year’s most impressive. Here, the object isn’t to figure out whodunit . . . The suspense comes from tracking Jack Yu through his investigation, navigating the shifting tides of Chinese turf wars, generational tension, and his own internal struggle with being a ‘standup Chinaman’ and an effective cop. This is a character well worth knowing.”
—January Magazine, Best Crime Fiction of 2006

Marilyn Stasio
Chinatown Beat a debut police procedural by Henry Chang, focuses a noir lens on the bewildering warren of streets in downtown Manhattan that waves of immigrants from mainland China, Taiwan and Southeast Asia have made into a culturally exclusive community, and the view he presents is pretty shocking … Chang has a cool, measured style that lets in some light, but not much hope, on a society that lives by its own rules.
— The New York Times
Kevin Allman
All the expected locales are here—gambling and dance halls, brothels, secret societies—but the author, who grew up in Chinatown, keeps things fresh by inserting Chinese phrases and explicating cultural folkways on nearly every page. Chang drops a few stitches as his story knits together, but this is a nasty, terse slice of noir, and Yu is a fellow whose adventures should be worth following.
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly
At the start of Chang's promising debut, NYPD detective Jack Yu must cope with his father's recent death and investigate the rape of a grade-school girl on the fringes of Chinatown, where he grew up and has just been stationed. Meanwhile, would-be gangster Johnny Wong is carrying on with Mona, the gorgeous mistress of his employer, Uncle Four, head of the local branch of the Hip Ching tong and a powerful underworld figure in both New York and Hong Kong. As Yu digs deeper into his case, suspecting that an illegal Chinese immigrant may be the serial rapist he is seeking, he finds evidence of a connection between the rapist and the local gangsters. Though Chang builds less suspense than more seasoned police procedural authors, he presents a fascinating look at New York's Chinese-American urban community and its subcultures. (Nov.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
New York police detective Jack Yu, working out of the Fifth Precinct, has come home to Manhattan's Chinatown, where he was raised. His father has just died, and Jack is cleaning out his apartment. He is also working a case involving a serial rapist of young Chinese girls. The politics of being a Chinese American on a police force thought to be racist and corrupt is the dominant theme of Chang's debut. Hard-boiled enough for most die-hard fans, procedurally correct, and on target when Yu is dealing with the remnants of his father's past, this is a great beginning to what should be a worthy series. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 7/06.] Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Chang's debut sends a cop from New York's Chinatown back into his old neighborhood to solve a case of serial rape and murder. Chinatown is a place where everybody knows everybody's business. Detective Jack Yu assumes that any number of people know something about the man who's assaulting little girls. But except for Ah Por, an ancient fortuneteller who tells Jack, "I see fire, and someone with small ears," nobody's talking, and Jack knows why: They see the problem as something for their local tongs, Hip Ching and Fuk Ching, to deal with in-house. "How does a cop get help from a community that has no faith in officers of the law?" Jack wonders. It's a good question, though one Jack spends more time debating than resolving. In fact, Chang's characters seem to meet mainly for the purpose of making speeches to each other rather than engaging in the give-and-take of action or dialogue. Not even the murder of Uncle Four, a prominent Hip Ching undersecretary, heats up the tale. Instead of emphasizing mystery or momentum, Chang drenches his story in atmosphere, backstories and customs, building up a snapshot of the neighborhood detail by detail, in the manner of James Sallis. The process of patient accretion works against suspense but guarantees Jack plenty to do in the promised series.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569474785
  • Publisher: Soho Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 11/1/2007
  • Series: Jack Yu Series , #1
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 220
  • Sales rank: 804,407
  • Product dimensions: 5.02 (w) x 7.48 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Henry Chang was born and raised in New York's Chinatown, where he still lives. He is a graduate of Pratt Institute and CCNY. He is the author of Year of the Dog and Death Money, also in the Detective Jack Yu series.

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Read an Excerpt

THE WANDERING GHOST

A NOVEL
By MARTIN LIMÓN

Soho Press, Inc.

Copyright © 2007 Martin Limón
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-56947-478-5


Chapter One

Stray flakes of snow swirled around the fur-lined edges of the MP's parka. He kept his M-16 rifle clutched close to his chest, glaring at us, and snatched the clipboard out of Ernie's hands.

"Emergency dispatch," Ernie said. "Good for anywhere Eighth Army operates, at any time of day or night."

"This ain't Eighth Army," the MP answered.

He was right. We were twenty miles north of Seoul sitting in a jeep at a checkpoint on the MSR, the Main Supply Route. Naked poplars lined the road, quivering in the cold wind of February. Five miles farther north stood Tongduchon, the city that straddles the front gate of Camp Casey, the headquarters of the United States Army's 2nd Infantry Division.

"You're a subordinate unit," Ernie said.

The MP tossed the clipboard back to Ernie and said, "We ain't subordinate to nobody."

Ernie studied the MP and the armed hon-byong, Korean Army military policeman, standing only a few feet away. Then he glanced at another American crouched behind an M-60 machine gun, muzzle pointed our way, safely ensconced behind sandbags in a reinforced concrete gun emplacement. Apparently, Ernie decided against raising hell. Instead, he grinned at the MP, shrugged, and handed the clipboard to me. Then he shoved the jeep in gear. Slowly, we zigzagged our way through rows of crosshatched metal stanchions strewn across the roadway like jacks discarded by a careless giant.

"Welcome to the Second Infantry Division," I said.

Ernie grunted.

Wind-borne cones of snow swirled across the ice-slick blacktop. Ernie maneuvered the jeep smoothly from first to second gear and then shoved it into third and finally fourth. The road was lined on either side with frozen rice paddies, fallow now during the long Korean winter. In the distance, narrow chimneys above straw-thatched roofs spewed wisps of gray smoke toward the abodes of revered ancestors.

My name is George Sueño. My partner, Ernie Bascom, and I are agents for the 8th United States Army Criminal Investigation Division in Seoul, Republic of Korea. A congressional inquiry, a demand for information from an elected member of the United States House of Representatives, had dispatched us up here to the DMZ, the northernmost area near the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Why? An American female MP assigned to the headquarters of the 2nd Infantry Division was missing. Disappeared. Evaporated. The entire manpower of the 2nd Infantry Division had searched but had been unable to find her.

Nor her body.

The missing woman's name was Corporal Jill Q. Matthewson, but she wasn't just any missing female soldier. She was the first woman MP ever assigned to the 2nd Division Military Police. Female soldiers had only recently, within the last year, been allowed in the Division area. Prior to that they were prohibited.

A peace treaty had never been officially signed between the United States and North Korea. A ceasefire, and a ceasefire only, was agreed to in June of 1953. Now in the early seventies, more than twenty years later, the 2nd Infantry Division area of operations was still considered to be a combat zone. As if to prove it, about a dozen firefights per year flared up across the 150-mile Korean DMZ. With 700,000 heavily armed North Korean communist soldiers on one side of the Military Demarcation Line and almost half a million South Korean troops on the other, this was to be expected. Despite the danger, Congress decided to allow women to serve in the 2nd Division, smack dab in the middle of mayhem.

Back at 8th Army, the bulk of the speculation about Corporal Jill Matthewson's disappearance centered around rape. Namely, that someone had sexually assaulted her, murdered her, and then disposed of her body. That was certainly possible. But there was another school of thought that postulated Matthewson might have been killed due to professional jealousy. Wielding the baton of a military policeman in the midst of 20,000 barely civilized combat soldiers, most GIs thought, was not a job for a woman. If she had been doing her job, and doing it well, male egos would have been bruised. Not a comfortable position for a woman alone. Besides Corporal Jill Matthewson, only three dozen other women soldiers-none of them MPs-were assigned to the Division area of operations out of nearly 20,000 American troops.

We wound around a curve in the road and passed beneath a massive concrete overhang: two hundred tons of cement riddled with plastic explosives. A tank trap. Ready to be blown up by retreating Republic of Korea soldiers if the heavily armored North Korean Army tries to bull its way south again. Running perpendicular to the road, as far as the eye could see, were double rows of closely packed concrete megaliths. Dragon's teeth, GIs call them. Another obstacle designed to slow down any future communist juggernaut.

Since Jill Matthewson disappeared almost three weeks ago, the 2nd Infantry Division Military Police Investigators had yet to locate any clue as to her whereabouts. For some reason, 8th Army Criminal Investigation thought that a couple of outsiders, like Ernie and me, could do what the Division MPI couldn't. Maybe it was because I spoke the language and Ernie knew the back alleys and brothels of Korea better than any CID agent in country. Or maybe it was because our bosses wanted to send us as far away from the flagpole as possible. That is, away from 8th Army headquarters in Seoul. Ernie and I had acquired the nasty habit of following an investigation wherever it led, even into the carpeted and mahogany-paneled war rooms of the honchos of 8th Imperial Army. Whatever the reason, the 8th Army provost marshal had chosen the two of us for the assignment and now it was our duty to find Corporal Jill Matthewson.

And find her we would.

Ernie didn't talk about it but I knew his determination was total. He'd spent two tours in Vietnam, seeing fellow GIs and Vietnamese civilians being wasted for no reason. He'd become fed up and now, day to day, he tried to do the best he could to protect people. If you asked him, he'd deny it. He'd claim that he was just doing his job, keeping a low profile, trying to put in his twenty. But he knew and I knew and even the honchos at 8th Army knew, that Ernie and I worked for the little guy. We worked for the private or the sergeant or the Korean civilian who'd been stepped on by criminals or by the system. And a female corporal who'd disappeared from a military environment where everyone and everything is accounted for daily-and then accounted for again-definitely fell into that category.

As we continued north, the landscape became more barren and the wind became colder and every few feet seemed to harbor a new military compound or gun emplacement.

"Cozy," Ernie said. "Just like 'Nam."

"But colder."

"A tad. 'Nam on ice."

I pulled Corporal Jill Matthewson's photograph out of my inside jacket pocket. Ernie gave me a sidelong glance.

"You still mooning over that photo?"

"Not mooning," I answered. "Investigating."

I turned my attention to the photo and studied it once again, for the umpteenth time. Full-length, black-and-white, taken directly from Corporal Jill Matthewson's military personnel records. She was tall, five-seven-and-a-half according to her recruitment physical, husky-appearing in her uniform but not fat. She had long hair, light I guessed from the photo, tied back tightly behind her head. She wore the mandatory army dress green uniform sporting a corporal's stripes on her sleeves and, on her collar, the crossed-pistols brass of the United States Army Military Police Corps. She was smiling, just slightly, just enough to show that she was confident in who she was and what she was doing. Her face was dusted across the nose with a smattering of freckles, the cheeks broad, the nose rounded at the end. Not a beauty but an attractive woman nevertheless. The type of woman who seemed full of life. The type of woman most healthy young GIs would like to get to know better.

Maybe Ernie was right. Maybe I was mooning over her a little. But what was wrong with that? Until we found her, she'd be the object of all my affection.

Ernie swerved past an ox-drawn cart laden with frozen hay. I shoved the photo back into the folder and pulled out a copy of the letter attached to the congressional inquiry cover sheet. It was from Jill Matthewson's mother, to her congressman in the district that includes Terre Haute, Indiana. The handwriting was childish. The ink was smeared and some of the letters were difficult to read. Still, it was legible. Jill had grown up in a trailer park, her mother wrote, and her mother had struggled to get by, working nights in a convenience store. Jill's father never paid his child support and never, not once, came to visit Jill. In fact, the only thing he'd ever done for his daughter was send her a birthday card on her fifth birthday. Jill treasured it. Kept it wrapped in plastic and took the card with her when, at the age of eighteen, she enlisted in the army and shipped out to boot camp. Her mother asked that we check for the card amongst Jill's personal effects. If it was gone, if Jill had taken it, then her mother would know that she was still alive. If, on the other hand, the card was still there, her mother would know she was dead.

Maybe. As a cop, I couldn't assume any such thing. Still, I'd search for the card. Immediately.

The letter also explained why Jill had joined the army. To buy her mother a car. After years of interminable waits at bus stops-lugging torn bags of groceries home from the supermarket and baskets of damp clothing back from the Laundromat-Jill had sworn, even as a little girl, that someday she'd buy her mother a car. After six months in the army, Jill kept her promise and managed to buy her mom a used Toyota Corolla. It didn't run anymore, according to Jill's mom, but she was grateful for the months that she'd been able to drive it. And then the letter trailed off in smeared ink as Jill's mother said that Jill was her only child and she pleaded with the congressman to find her daughter and send her home. The congressman, as far as I could tell from the paperwork enclosed in the congressional inquiry packet, hadn't answered. Yet.

I would. As soon as I had more information. You could bet on it.

A convoy of ROK Army two-and-a-half-ton trucks passed us rolling south. Attached to the front bumpers were white placards splashed with red lettering in hangul, the indigenous Korean script: UIHOM! POKPAL MUL. Danger! High Explosives.

A twenty-foot-high statue of a military policeman stood in front of the 2nd Infantry Division Provost Marshal's Office. The huge MP wore a black helmet emblazoned with the letters MP and was clad in a dark green fatigue uniform and black boots laced with fake white strings. One hand rested on his hip, just above a holstered .45. His face was bright pink and his eyes a glassy blue, with an expression about as mindless as some flesh-and-blood MPs that I knew.

The PMO building was, like most buildings here on Camp Casey, a series of Quonset huts connected by mazes of corridors made of plywood and glass, topped with corrugated tin. The entire edifice was then spray painted in a camouflage pattern of various shades of puke green.

GI elegance.

We pushed through the front door at the end of the main Quonset hut into a reception area lined with wooden benches. At a high counter in front, a mustachioed black sergeant glowered at us. His shoulders were bulky-hunched-as if expecting the worse. The embroidered name tag on his fatigue blouse said OTIS. Five black stripes were pinned to his lapel: sergeant first class.

When we approached him, he said, "Why you dressed like that?"

He was referring to our civilian coats and ties.

Ernie didn't bother to answer. Instead, he brushed melting flakes of snow off his shoulders and then pulled out his identification. With a flourish, he flipped open the leather case. The desk sergeant peered at the Criminal Investigation badge and then aimed his red-rimmed eyes at me. I performed the same ritual.

"You here about Druwood."

It wasn't a question, it was a statement of fact. Ernie didn't correct him; he just waited. Sergeant First Class Otis shook his head slowly. "Shame. Young trooper like him."

Lost in thought for a moment, Otis seemed to realize that we were still waiting. He looked up at us and as he did so he understood, probably from the blank expressions on our faces, that we'd never heard about anybody named Druwood. He sat up straight, thrust back his shoulders, and cleared his throat. This time his voice was even gruffer than before.

"Who you want to see?"

"Bufford," Ernie replied.

"MPI?"

Ernie nodded.

"Then it's 'Mister' Bufford to you," the desk sergeant said. "You in Division now. You call a warrant officer by his proper title."

Ernie squinted at the desk sergeant, unable to fathom whether or not he was serious. Kowtowing to a wobbly-one military police investigator? At 8th Army headquarters in Seoul, there's so much brass wandering the hallways that warrant officers empty the trash. Sergeant Otis grabbed the black phone in front of him and started dialing. I took the opportunity to pull Ernie aside.

"Remember," I told him. "We're in Division now."

Ernie mumbled something obscene.

Cradling the phone against his beefy shoulder, Otis scribbled in his logbook and told us to spell our names. Then someone apparently picked up on the other end of the line; the desk sergeant whispered discreetly into the receiver and, after listening for a few seconds, hung up.

"Room 137," he said, pointing to his right. "Down the hall, take a left at the water cooler, then follow the signs."

As our highly spit-shined footgear clattered down the hallway, MPs and clerical staff in fatigues stopped what they were doing and stared at us from their cramped cubicles. The suits gave us away. They knew we had to be from Seoul and they knew we had to be from the Criminal Investigation Division. It all has to do with the way the military mind works. The honchos at 8th Army are smart enough to realize that for criminal investigators to be effective they have to blend in with the general populace. To do that, they have to wear civilian clothes. However, being military men, they didn't want us to gain an advantage over them by not having to wear a military uniform during duty hours. Therefore, they dictated that, while on duty, the civilian clothes we were required to wear would be white shirts, ties, and jackets. But this is the seventies! Nobody wears a coat and tie unless they're getting married, attending a funeral, or having an audience with the Pope. So the whole purpose of allowing us to wear civilian clothes-to blend in with the general populace-was defeated. Whenever anyone-Korean or American-saw a young American male with a short haircut wearing a coat and tie, they automatically assumed that he was an agent for the Criminal Investigation Division.

So much for sneaking up on the bad guys.

Mumbles followed us down the hallway: "REMFs." The acronym for Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers.

If the coddled staff at 8th Army headquarters looked down their snooty noses at the 2nd Infantry Division, the combat soldiers up here at Division returned the animosity tenfold. Anybody stationed in Seoul, they believed, lived in the lap of luxury and would be no more useful in a firefight than a hand grenade with a soldered pin.

"So far," Ernie said, "we're receiving a warm reception."

In addition to the epithets, I also heard the name Druwood spoken a few times, in hushed tones. At the water cooler we hung a left, wandered down the meandering hallway until we spotted the signs, and this time turned right. Finally, after two more turns, we stood in front of a placard that read: ROOM 137, MILITARY POLICE INVESTIGATION.

We strode through the open doorway.

The office was plastered from floor to ceiling with enlarged black-and-white photos of blood, guts, and gore. An overhead fluorescent light buzzed. At a small gray desk, a lanky GI seemed to rise from his chair in sections. The name tag on his faded fatigues said BUFFORD and the rank insignia on his collar was the black-striped rectangle of a warrant officer one.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from THE WANDERING GHOST by MARTIN LIMÓN Copyright © 2007 by Martin Limón. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 598 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(68)

4 Star

(104)

3 Star

(179)

2 Star

(108)

1 Star

(139)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 603 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 23, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Glad it was Free

    I love the free Friday downloads becauses it opens you up to reading something outside your normal genre. This book wasn't a total waste of time but found that I didn't care for the writing style in the first half of the book. It jumped around alot but became confusing because of the several different Asian gangs and Associations who are live in Chinatown which made it somewhat difficult to follow the story. The book got much better near the end when the story easier to follow.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 24, 2008

    worth reading

    A truth to life New York crime story. Full of real people, with real lives. Can't wait for the second book.

    5 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 14, 2010

    Don't waste your time

    If there is a plot, it is well hidden. The story jumps around so much that notebook is needed to keep track of who, what when, where and why. The Chinese to English to Chinese translations becomes old, fast. I stopped reading the book after about 70 pages spread out over several days...just nothing there to hold my interest. I know it was a "Freebie", but why do the Nook "Freebie" choices almost always come from the bottom of the barrel?

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 17, 2010

    Not worth your time--even as a free e-book

    I agree with Bobbyj--I made it through about 100 pages (of the 254 page book) and had not a clue if and when these characters/storylines would come together. Not a sympathetic character in the bunch either--so I didn't waste my time to see if the next 154 pages were any better.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 1, 2010

    Disjointed.

    This book jumps all over the place. For me a difficult read that had my mind wandering along with the text.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 2, 2011

    great writing

    chang not only writes superior detective novels, he also plumbs the depths of identity, race, and class in a manner that is insightful and entertaining. there is more here than meets the eye and the active reader is rewarded repeatedly. chang's cityscapes alone are worth the price. i read the follow-up to this novel, the jade empress, and i was pleased with that work as well. i look forward to more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2011

    Highly Recommended

    This book was a very interesting look into the Chinese mob. Lots of excitement.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2011

    Good story

    I got this for free from B&N Free Fridays and I'm glad I read it. It's a good story and not something I'd normally read. I thought the characters were interesting and I enjoyed the plot.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2011

    Worth It When It Was Free....

    I downloaded this book on a Free Friday. That is the only reason I gave it more than one star. The first half of the book was extremely hard to follow. I didn't understand who some of the characters were and certain storylines were not tied up in the end.

    Then ending was extremely disappointing too. I got to the end and started wondering if I received a free sample instead of the whole book. Seriously, it just ends without resolving anything.

    Don't bother unless they put it up for free again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Very good detective book

    Jack is a great character, Chinese American, working in chinatown with the old and new chinese folks, almost two different lifestyles. Chasing killers out of the area. Mona is a storng chinese woman Whom I fell in love with just reading about her. Hope everyone like this as much as I did.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 17, 2011

    Sadly Disappointing

    I've gotten through about 88 pages, and I'm still slogging along...can't find any cohesiveness from chapter to chapter. I'm about to quit!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 13, 2011

    A Wandering

    The book has too long an introduction, and way too many characters to remember in just the first 100 pages. Needed lots of time to understand and hard to kept my mind from wandering.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 4, 2010

    Really enjoyed it

    Good detective novel and also learn a lot about Chinatown culture. Free ebooks are awesome! I'm going to buy his other two novels.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 23, 2013

    Should come with a warning

    The language on the first several pages (I did give it quite a chance) is so disgusting that I did not finish the book. I did not get an indicator that it (language) was going to be that bad.

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  • Posted May 2, 2012

    Okay, I can't say that I agree with many of the other reviewers,

    Okay, I can't say that I agree with many of the other reviewers, but I'm not far off. I could tell after about three pages that this was going to be fiction noir, with characters, behaviors, and actions that I might not understand at first. I was okay with that. And I was okay with the fact that it was intended for me as a cultural introduction (I'm a white, senior male). But I do think the author overplayed the culture a bit, to the point where it was becoming oppressive rather than simply rainy-streets noir. And in spite of my expectations of a simple detective novel, the first half did become a bit dense and confusing.

    Like other reviewers, I found the chinese-to-english translations almost pointless and really adding little to the story. Really, could any non-chinese-speaking person remember any of these after moving to the next line of text. I think it was attempt to add more to the cultural introduction, but surely it was lost most readers. Mostly, it just seemed to be filler.

    All in all, I read it because I picked it up as a freebie and because it was not overly long. It deserves a pretty-good rating, but I don't think I'll be going back to the author unless there is another freebie.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    interesting story

    I enjoyed it. Pretty good read with decent character development.

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  • Posted May 4, 2011

    Slow start but good

    I don't normally read mysteries so it was a little hard for me to get into the plot but i really enjoyed all the content they covered about the culture of chinatown.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2011

    Gratuitous Sex

    Some may see "gratuitous sex" as a positive - but not I. Wish I had been warned away. Otherwise, the book is plodding. Did not finish.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Glad it was free

    OK book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2011

    Unusual Detective Story

    Pretty good story line if you can follow it. A sad story in every way. Just when you feel good about the Chinese detective, he creeps up on someone, chambers a round into his Glock pistol, then clicks off the nonexistent safety. That sort of thing just takes you out of the story if you know anything about guns. I wonder why so many writers don't verify stuff they write.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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