S.J. Rozan is a good old-fashioned mystery writer, and I mean that as a high compliment…Ghost Hero is haunted by the tragedies and courageous legacy of China's failed democracy movement. As Lydia and Bill get caught up in the swirl of rumors about Chau's paintings, Rozan raises philosophical issues about the power of art to agitate and inspire, and about the morality of secluding that art on the walls of wealthy collectors.
The Washington Post
Every S. J. Rozan mystery featuring sleuthing partners Lydia Chin and Bill Smith comes with a bonus feature that makes New York feel vital and fabulous. In Ghost Hero, it's an inside look at the city's art scene, from imposing uptown galleries and trendy storefront spaces in Chelsea to starving-artists' warehouse collectives in Queens.
The New York Times Book Review
At the start of Edgar-winner Rozan's excellent 11th novel featuring PI partners Lydia Chin and Bill Smith (after On the Line), Jeff Dunbar, a collector of contemporary Chinese art, hires Lydia to get to the bottom of beguiling rumors that new works by the late Chau Chun (aka Ghost Hero Chau) have somehow surfaced. Chau, who died 20 years earlier during the Tiananmen Square uprising, used traditional symbols and techniques to conceal subversive political messages in brush-and-ink scrolls. The likeliest explanation for the scuttlebutt is that someone has been forging his work. Bill hooks Lydia up with a friend and colleague, Jack Lee, who reveals that he's gotten the identical assignment from a different client, NYU professor Bernard Yang. With doubts growing as to Dunbar's real agenda, Lydia and Bill start fishing to find out what's really going on. Engaging characters, crisp dialogue, intelligent storytelling, and a minimum of violence add up to another winner for Rozan. (Oct.)
“S.J. Rozan is a good old-fashioned mystery writer, and I mean that as a high compliment.” Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post
“...excellent ... Engaging characters, crisp dialogue, intelligent storytelling, and a minimum of violence add up to another winner for Rozan.” Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
“Rozan picks up the pace and adds a new plot twist to pull off another coup.” Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times
“Rozan delivers another thoroughly entertaining, meticulously plotted and utterly riveting installment of her Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series.... rival PI Jack Lee is a delightful addition.” RT Book Reviews (Top Pick!)
“...more cons and double-crosses than The Sting.” Kirkus Reviews
Is Lydia and Bill (On the Line) are drawn into the contemporary art world in their 11th outing. What can they make of new paintings from an artist who was killed in Tiananmen Square?
Now that she's been rescued from her kidnappers (On the Line, 2010, etc.), ChinatownPI Lydia Chin deserves a bit of a holiday: a madcap search for some paintings that may or may not be authentic, and may or may not actually exist.
Jeff Dunbar is clear about what he wants: to locate the most recent paintings by Chau Chun, the Ghost Hero late of the Beijing Art Institute. But he's not clear about anything else. He doesn't give Lydia his real name. He doesn't tell her why he needs to hire a private eye, and one with no expertise tracking down artworks, to find the paintings instead of waiting for them to come on the market. He can't explain why Chau would have any new work available when he was killed in Tiananmen Square 20 years ago. He doesn't warn Lydia that he's not the only person looking for the paintings. So she and her partner Bill Smith are dumbfounded when Jack Lee, the specialist friend of Bill's they consult, tells them that he's working the same case too. Once Jack reveals the identity of his client—Bernard Yang, the NYU professor who held the Ghost Hero's hand as he died—the game is afoot, and what a game it is, with no bloodletting and not much suspense but more cons and double-crosses thanThe Sting.Before the case is finally laid to rest, Bill will disguise himself as wealthy, mobbed-up art patron Vladimir Oblomov and Jack as art authenticator Dr. Lin Qiao-xiang to fool greedy gallery owner Doug Haig, with new revelations of other players' deceptions arriving every ten minutes.
Pleasantly foolish, insubstantial and harmless, though Bill's extended turn as Oblomov is a little hard to take. Are the lowlife creeps who chase high art really that gullible?