9.49 In Stock
On a sunny afternoon in Hartford, Connecticut, PI Rick Van Lam's Vietnam-vet mentor and partner, Jimmy, and Jimmy's old army pal, Ralph, are attacked as they walk down a city sidewalk. Ralph is killed, and Jimmy, backing up, is struck by a car. While the battered Jimmy is under the care of Rick's landlord and friend, Gracie, where an improbable romance seems to be blooming, Rick finds himself in a quandary-he's asked to clear the name of the two attackers named by the police. One is a boy named Simon Tran, known as Saigon, the other, Simon's buddy, Frankie Croix. Rick himself is a bui doi or child of dust, meaning the child of a Vietnamese mother and an American GI father. Leading a life of disdain and torment in a Ho Chi Minh City orphanage as a child, a battered Rick turned on a newly arrived child of dust, a more despised case: a boy who was the son of a Vietnamese mother and a black GI. He's still ashamed of how savagely pleased he was to have another boy become the new target for mistreatment, someone the Vietnamese community viewed as even lower than him. Years later, in Hartford, Rick has to grapple with that troubling childhood memory because Simon is the son of the same bui doi, Mike Tran. Mike is a hard-working, decent man. Despite the difficulties of being Amerasian, he embodies the American Dream: a house, a loving wife, and exemplary children-students at prestigious private schools and colleges. Except for Simon, who seems hell-bent on a life of crime. Working with Hank Nguyen, a young colleague now a state-cop-intraining, Rick tracks Simon to a Vietnamese gang in Little Saigon. How can he not strive to save Simon and Frankie, boys who refuse to be saved? And who may be facing not just murder charges but becoming victims in a vicious gangland war? A unique investigator in a crowded field, Rick's cases both surprise you, and wring your heart. "The Le family members initially seem to fit into obvious molds-the spoiled heiress, the grieving widower, the conservative immigrant parents-but Lanh expertly avoids stereotypes. Each character proves to be a richly drawn enigma. Indeed, Rick's exploration of the Le family is so engaging that readers may forget about the mystery itself. Lanh's faithful portrayal of the complexity of the human experience demonstrates that people, with their secrets and devious motives, are the most captivating mysteries of all." -Publishers Weekly Starred Review for Caught Dead, the first Rick van Lam Mystery by Andrew Lanh
Related collections and offers
About the Author
Andrew Lanh lives in West Hartford, Connecticut. He is the author of three previous Rick Van Lam mysteries, Caught Dead (2014), Return to Dust (2015), No Good to Cry (2016) and Child of My Winter (2017). His works explore the little-known Vietnamese community in Hartford, Connecticut.