“If you have yet to add Liu to your must-read list, you’re doing yourself a disservice.”
Marjorie M. Lui has created a most unusual investigative organization in the Dirk and Steele Detective Agency—a collection of shapeshifters, psychics, and other uniquely gifted individuals—and in doing so has revitalized the paranormal romance genre. In The Red Heart of Jade, an ex-cop with extraordinarily heightened senses follow a trail of death to Taipei—and finds the woman of his heart there, the childhood love he once believed dead, whom he must now protect from an unspeakable evil. Thrilling, sensuous, surprising, remarkable…The Red Heart of Jade is all that and more. No wonder Christine Feehan says, “Anyone who loves my work should love hers.”
About the Author
Marjorie M. Liu is an attorney and New York Times bestselling author of paranormal romances and urban fantasy. In the world of comic books, she is also the writer of NYX: No Way Home, Black Widow, X-23, and Dark Wolverine. She lives in the American Midwest and Beijing, China.
Read an Excerpt
The Red Heart of Jade
By Marjorie M. Liu
Copyright © 2006
Marjorie M. Liu
All right reserved.
In the moments before Dean Campbell opened his eyes to the
fire burning him alive, he found himself lost within a dream
of stone and light, where bones crunched underfoot and a chain
pressed hard around his ankle, binding him tight within the
center of a raggedy sand circle. A deep dream, an old dream,
the kind he rarely had anymore, and it was only the scent of
roasting meat that pulled him from the mystery of shadows
inside him mind. Pulled him free and floating, consciousness
returning with a hard peeling light that became, after a
moment's confusion, an inferno, a sheet of pure heat washing
over his naked body.
Fire. He was on fire.
Dean screamed. He screamed until his eyes bulged, but he made
no sound. His throat was hostage. And like his voice, his body
refused him. He could not move. Paralyzed, or maybe he was
already dead and this was hell: forced to watch himself burn
to ash, his life given up like a paper doll to a matchstick,
some human sacrifice to the white-hot beast licking his eyes,
melting his mouth, pushing deep inside his ears to roar like
thunder; a sound to ride his terror upon as he silently
screamed, screamed and screamed until something broke inside
his head and shattered.
He felt hands on his body. Real hands, the kind he had not
felt in years. Small and female, delicate. Moving against his
chest, sinking into his splitting flesh. Scratching. Cutting.
Carving an incision above his heart. He felt no pain, no - nerve
endings melting, sloughing away like old skin - but he
sensed those fingers - oh God, oh God - slide into his body
past bone to wrap tight around his hammering heart, and he
thought, This is it, I'm gonna die, I'm already dead, what a
loser, what a goddamn way to end it. But as the hand squeezed
inside his chest, fingers unforgiving, another voice intruded
on Dean's mind, a voice loud and clear and unfamiliar, and he
heard a man say, No, not yet, not again.
And just like that, the fire boomed, puffed, the pressure
eased. The world collapsed into darkness.
Screams. Dean heard terrible screams. He thought someone else
must be hurt, dying - get up, get up, get your gun and fight
- but after a moment of dazed horrified wonder he realized
that it was him - his voice, finally working - and what a
beautiful awful sound. He could not shut his mouth. He could
not stop his body from writhing as the paralysis eased. Yet
still, blindness; a darkness absolute ... until Dean raised a
shaking hand and touched his face
He opened his eyes. The world came into soft-lit focus: a
white ceiling, creamy walls, a darkened window covered in
ivory sheers. Hotel finery at its best. Clean and perfect and
not on fire.
Not on fire.
He sucked in his breath and closed his eyes. Gripped the
rumpled sheets between his fists to steady himself before
slowly, carefully, touching his body. He was naked, covered in
sweat, but his skin was smooth and he felt no pain. He was
whole. Intact. Still had a penis and all the other bits that
went with it. No bad smells, like meat or smoke. Just the
light sweet scent of orchids.
So. Just a dream, then. A goddamn dream.
Dean sat up. Cold metal spilled from the hollow of his throat;
a woman's locket, hanging from a thin chain around his neck.
He gripped the necklace hard, savoring the rounded edge that
cut into his palm. Gulped down long cold breaths that did
nothing to slow his heart. He felt woozy, nauseated. Tried to
imagine the fire as a dream and could not. The heat was still
His knuckles brushed against his chest, the skin above his
heart. He felt a scar, but that was familiar, old news.
Except, just below it he touched something else, a ridge that
should not be, and Dean opened his eyes.
There was a mark. A red curving line, like a welt or bloody
tattoo, the afterthought of a sharp knife. Dean pressed his
fingers against it, tracing the edges. He felt pain. The first
pain since opening his eyes to the fire, the dream.
Or maybe not a dream at all. Dean remembered those small
hands, the sensation of fingers pushing, pushing so damn hard
into his chest, wrapping around his heart. Squeezing. He
remembered that voice in his head. He remembered fire.
All of it, so real. Real enough to kill. Real enough to almost
make sense, considering what he had been chasing for the past
three days. Which, given his luck, meant one thing only.
He was in some very deep shit.
Excerpted from The Red Heart of Jade
by Marjorie M. Liu
Copyright © 2006 by Marjorie M. Liu.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was a great read - Marjorie's an inventive author that gives you interesting characters and plots. I like how she interweaves the main/supporting characters while at the same time introducing new ones in each book. This series needs to be read in order and don't skip any of them. I wanted to post this review to let readers know #4 is an anthology and only available in hard copy but don't skip it because it's a building block in the series you don't want to miss - it's a great short story. I'm currently on #9 and still enjoying the books and have already pre-ordered the last one she has out in it becuase I know I'll want be ready to read it as soon as it's available
To much going on in this book. I like a little mystery, but this it was a little confusing at times
I found it slow reading because there was so much going on that I had to re-read portions occasionally. The first chapter made absolutely no sense at all. Dean Campbell is a clairvoyant who works for the Dirk & Steele detective agency (3rd book in the series). He's having a dream where he's burning alive and it took me a while to figure all that out. There seemed to be more blood and guts in this one with an evil dragon shapeshifter that rips people apart and burns them alive. One scene where he rips off a guy's ear and pops it in his mouth to crunch like a potato chip really turned my stomach. That was probably the worst scene.Mirabelle Lee is a professor of archeology who hasn't seen Dean for 20 years. In fact they were childhood sweethearts who each thought the other was dead. I'm not going to go into the plot because it was very intricate. I loved the setting that starts out in Taipei and moves to HongKong and mainland China. My biggest problem with the book is that it does not have enough romance in it. I would classify it as a paranormal with a smidge of romance. (Grade: B-)
Dean Campbell is an ex-cop, now working for Dirk & Steele, a detective agency who used their paranormal powers to deal with both mundane and paranormal cases. They kept trying to keep innocent people alive and stop some of the more evil paranormals from gaining an upper hand, sometimes compromising in order to achieve the greatest good.Dean is in Taipei. He finds a few shocking things there. Someone or something powerful is killing people, and in the middle of the mystery is a woman he thought long dead - Dr Mirabelle Lee. Can he keep his mind on the case while the woman he loves is in danger?It's a story that romps away and keeps you entralled even when you have questions about plot issues and the questions about the world. This is a world quite like ours and you can't help feeling sometimes that the author is using the books as a way of worldbuilding and even she isn't sure about some of the backbone of the series.She did keep my attention and did make me want to read more so that's a bonus.
I really enjoyed this. Liu has given out more of the puzzle pieces that describe her world without spelling it out for us or even telling us enough to come up with any answers on our own yet. We're being left to discover what's really going on in that alternate version of the world at the same trickle feed pace as the Dirk & Steel agents, and while I respect this as a perfectly valid writing exercise (and marketing one as well to keep me spending my money), it's also extremely irritating. I like both Dean and Miri. I liked the way their shared history and current reunion stank of writer-contrived coincidences under the story unfolded further and we found out the real reasons why it seemed that way. It was an interesting take, too, on the whole fated lovers/lifemates/soulmates thing, without been quite like that at all. I can't explain why it felt different, but it did. Maybe because Dean and Miri accepted it, and it was completely equal between them. Their "bond" has been a friendship between them from the first day they met and so it felt natural rather than forced. (The feeling of things being forced was their twenty years apart, but we were given enough hints that that really had been forced - and by one of the characters rather than the author - so it worked out pretty well.) It was interesting to see Rictor pop up again, with no more hints about who or what he is, or what he wants. We also got another enigmatic character whose agenda and loyalites and possible limits are unknown but there to tease us. We don't know much about Robert, but like Rictor, he's certainly interesting enough to want to know more. He's neither an obvious good guy nor an obvious bad guy, although I'd say he's capable of being either, and he's clearly powerful and dangerous. Liu has stated on her website that Rictor will be getting his own book. I rather suspect Robert to be slated for one at some point as well. So far we've been let in on the secret of who he was so long as we were paying attention to one seemingly throw-away pair of words, combined with a comment about how much people change. Unfortanately, at this point it's a secret that doesn't explain anything. This woman knows how to keep me coming back for her next novel. We're also getting more hints about the true history of the world, which doesn't bear a lot of reality to what we think we know - or what the D&S agents think they know. I'm now wanting to know about immortals, especially the one who wanted to die, black oily smoke (I get a visual of the essence of the demons taking over the First Slayer in Buffy, but I don't know if there's really a connection there or not) with a agenda to remake the world and some brothers that seem to be unable to enter the world as it is now. There's a lot still to come and I hope the stories live up to the promise of the early ones. Now I just need a concordance to help me keep everyone, their talents, friends and lovers and enemies (and anything else that might be useful) straight, since it won't stay clear in my head for long, I'm sure.
I kept finding myself wondering why it was taking so long for them to realize what was going on. For people who are supposed to be special, they acted like big dunces a lot of the time. I felt like the story line dragged along and could have flowed easier, even if it would have shortened the book.
Once you pick it up you can't put it down.
Evey book just keeps getting better
Like the first 2 books I read, this one is just as exciting but like book #2, is a little gruesome. The story is fast paced and just when you get your heart rate down, it jumps into the next turn of events. Very talented writer with imagination beyond mine. A mix of paranormal, ancient legends, magic, and love.