American-Born Chinese P.I. Lydia Chin is called in on what appears to be a simple case. Jeff Dunbar, art world insider, wants her to track down a rumor. Contemporary Chinese painting is sizzling hot on the art scene and no one is hotter than Chau Chun, known as the Ghost Hero. A talented and celebrated ink painter, Chau's highly-prized work mixes classical forms and modern political commentary. The rumor of new paintings by Chau is shaking up the art world. There's only one problem - Ghost Hero Chau has been dead for twenty years, killed in the 1989 Tianamen Square uprising. Not only is Ghost Hero Chau long dead, but Lydia's client isn't who he claims to be either. And she's not the only P.I. hired to look for these paintings. Lydia and her partner, Bill Smith, soon learn that someone else - Jack Lee: P.I., art expert, and, like Lydia, American-Born Chinese - is also on the case. What starts as rumors over new paintings by a dead artist quickly becomes something far more desperate--a high-stakes crisis the P.I.'s will find themselves risking everything to resolve.
©2011 S. J. Rozan. All rights reserved. (P)2011 AudioGo
The narrator was so poor that I had to stop listening. There was no difference between the voices of the characters, male or female
I'd like to read or listen to the book, I like the author very much, I'd like to have the part of my life back spent trying to listen to it read by this reader!
around the halfway point, but my library had a long hold queue for it, so I kept listening. At first I thought my issues were with the narrator, but as the book wore on it seemed she made a weak plot worse: very little actually happens! Lydia, Bill, and their "temporary colleague" Jack run around the city, holding conversations without much relevance in each location. There's not much tension here, so I never really felt anyone was in great danger. Instead, there's the hook of Chinese dissidents and the NYC art scene - if those aren't your thing, there's little else of interest.
Not really a spoiler, but Jack (another Chinese-American P. I.) crosses paths with Lydia and Bill early on as he's working on the same case from a different angle. He's her age, specializing in Asian art matters, with outstanding academic credentials; the difference is that he's second generation, from the midwest. Bill is largely absent, appearing much of the time in the "undercover" character of a Russian mobster. With Jack in the picture, there's little interaction at all between Lydia and Bill. So, what is Jack's function: love triangle? possible spin-off? a device to keep from dealing with the partners' relationship?
Which brings me specifically to the audio production. Zeller's treatment of Lydia underscored for me that Rozan was unable to get back into that character after several years away. I had thought Lydia was going on 30 by now, but with her sassy banter and suburban almost-Valley-Girl delivery, she seemed barely old enough for a P. I. license. Bill (as Bill) was a complete mess - he sounded as though he were on loan from Archie Comics with his squeaky voice, on par with cousin Linus, not a forty-something New Yorker with years of experience; as the Russian mobster, Zeller did a pretty good job. Seems obvious she was hired for her native Chinese proficiency, but that wasn't enough to keep her from being a mismatch for much of the 9 hours.
More engaging story and a reader with more speach variations to differentiate the characters
Not familiar enough with the reader's names to offer a suggestion
The characters have matured, the plot was more entertaining and the narrator did an excellent job of imbibing the characters with distinct voices.
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