While David Stark is asked to open a law office in Beijing, his lover, detective Liu Hulan, receives an urgent message from an old friend imploring her to investigate the suspicious death of her daughter, who worked for a toy company about to be sold to David’s new client, Tartan Enterprises.
Despite David’s protests, Hulan goes undercover at the toy factory in the rural village of Da Shui, deep in the heart of China. It is a place that forces Hulan to face a past she has long been running from. Once there, rather than finding answers to the girl’s death, Hulan unearths more questions, all of which point to possible crimes committed by David’s client. Suddenly, Hulan and David find themselves on opposing sides: One of them is trying to expose a company and unearth a killer, while the other is ethically bound to protect his client.
As pressures mount and danger increases, Hulan and David uncover universal truths about good and evil, right and wrong - and the sometimes subtle lines that distinguish them.
©2010 Lisa See (P)2010 Random House
“Sophisticated...graceful...See’s picture of contemporary China’s relationship with the United States is aptly played out through her characters.” (Los Angeles Times)
“Immediate, haunting and exquisitely rendered.” (San Francisco Chronicle)
Lisa See does it again in this mystery that spans the globe between California and China. Chinese culture is vividly authentic. The characters are believable and the story is current. The struggle between the east and west is interesting and the struggles that China has been experiencing is accurate. Liu Hu Lan continues to be an interesting character to follow, though I felt she was a little too cold this time. There were a few instances where I actually didn't like her. She just seemed overly cold and unfeeling. Whether this is indicative of Chinese women of her status or just how the character was written I don't know. I would definitely read it again and recommend it to anyone who is fascinated by Chinese culture and great mysteries.
I mostly listen to books while exercising, which pretty much explains all of the action/thrillers on my list.
There were enough things I enjoyed about this story that I have decided to try one more - mainly because of what is says about China that I find interesting. The part that focused on the atty/client privilege issues and all of the agonizing the American atty character did about that was a bit off - but then I practiced merger & acquisitions law for 20 years and have my own thoughts on that subject. But I hope I'm not wrong in assuming that the slant on Chinese politics is more accurate.
I'm just not a fan of Lisa See. I've read quite a few of her books and each time I just feel - meh - at the end. I usually like the narrator, Janet Song, except she pronounced all the mandarin words incorrectly. That certainly wouldn't have been a bit deal if the book lived somewhere in the realm of compelling.
I collect spores, molds, and fungus.
I love Lisa See and her Red Princess story "Dragon Bones" was pretty good. I was pretty disappointed in this story as I often found it kind of boring and my mind began to wander. I didn't even listen to the last half hour. It wasn't bad though I guess. Entertaining.
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