P.I. Bill Smith is sent on a high-stakes chase when an electronically modified voice on his cell phone informs him that Lydia Chin, his occasional partner, has been kidnapped. Now, if Bill wants to keep Lydia alive, he'll have to play an elaborate game of the kidnapper's devising. The first move sends him to an abandoned building, where Bill finds the corpse of a small Chinese woman dressed like Lydia and the building being rapidly surrounded by police. Now he's on the run from the cops and in the worst trouble of his very troubled life.
©2010 S. J. Rozan. All rights reserved. (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks America
I mainly read mysteries, and sci-fi, sometimes with a dose of humor, and I love the BBC. I enjoy the hidden gems more than the best-sellers.
First, a caution: The profanity in this book is extreme. I’m not at all prudish about language in books, but I expect profanity to be used sparingly and for effect. I realize that Bill is very distraught in the book, and that the other character is insane, but the profanity pervades practically every other sentence. So if this is a concern for you, skip this one. You won’t be missing much.
I have read and enjoyed all of the other Chin/Smith novels and was pleasantly surprised to find this and Rozan’s other new book available after such a long break in the series. While Shanghai Moon felt true to the series, this novel definitely did not. First, Lydia Chin is not really in the book; she is a kidnap victim in a revenge “game” a psychopath plays with Smith. So to call this a Chin/ Smith novel is a misnomer.
So, let’s just take it as any mystery/suspense novel: How does it measure up? Still very poorly. The plot is so wildly contrived that it prevents suspension of disbelief. **SPOILERS AHEAD** The psychopath has Bill going all over town finding kidnapped, injured or dead prostitutes as parts of his “game.” Bill ends up suspected of the crimes; he then runs from the police; he loses his allies. He is at one point arrested; then he escapes. It’s just a series of unfortunate events. Furthermore, since Lydia is the victim he is trying to rescue, and she is a title character, it seems very unlikely that he will fail to find her. So that cut down on the suspense.
I will say that I did finish listening, and I’m not sure why. I’ve dumped plenty of books in the past. I think I just kept hoping that Rozan would somehow redeem herself before the book ended. She didn't.
I'm a long-time fan of S. J. Rozan and her Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series. This one was a disappointment to me.
The hostage-kidnapped-by-the-whacko-out-for-revenge is a tired and, frankly, unbelievable plot. Sure, Rozan is good enough to throw lots of twists and turns and the ticking clock scenario is always effective. Still, maybe it's that this is an audiobook, but a Bill Smith's ranting and raving, swearing and screaming is...tiresome and annoying.
I look forward to the next Smith/Chin book and trust S. J. Rozan to return to form.
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