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"Inspector Liu, do I need to remind you that China has customs and rituals for dealing with guests?" says a top Chinese official to one his police investigators early in Lisa See's tremendously powerful debut thriller. "Remember that all foreigners are potentially dangerous. Don't be tempted to say what you think. Don't show anger or irritation. Be humble and careful and gracious. Draw them in. Let them think they have a connection to you, that they owe you, that they should never cause you any embarrassment. This is how we have treated outsiders for centuries. This is how you will treat this foreigner as long as he is our guest." The fact that the official is her father and the foreigner in question is her former lover, an assistant U.S. attorney named David Stark, makes things much more complicated for Liu Hulan. Hulan is a former Red Princess, one of the privileged children of Chairman Mao's most trusted aides. When two young men (the son of the American ambassador to China and the son of an immensely powerful Chinese businessman with possible criminal connections) are murdered under similar circumstances, Hulan and Stark are cynically manipulated by their respective governments into a joint investigation that exposes the worst of both countries. The situation also gives See a chance to meld her impressive talent for writing fiction with the solid journalism skills that invigorated her family saga On Gold Mountain.
YA?The tranquil setting of a Chinese ice-skating pond is shattered when Wing Yun and his granddaughter discover the body of a young white man frozen in the ice. An ocean away, off the coast of Southern California, the body of a young Chinese man is found decomposing in the drinking water for a shipload of illegal immigrants. When it is found that both of the deceased have connections to a Chinese gang, the Rising Phoenix, Chinese Inspector Liu Hulan and Assistant U.S. Attorney David Stark are teamed to locate the killer. Liu and David, who had been linked romantically years before, realize their case is being run like the flower net used by Chinese fishermen who throw the mesh wide to trap everything within its reach. American and Chinese cultures are naturally juxtaposed as Liu and David move from one side of the Pacific to the other, offering a richness in background beyond the usual espionage tale. The writing is crisp and the story moves at a fast clip with flashbacks adding background fibers to the webbing. This top-quality novel will be enjoyed by teens who like romance, adventure, or just a great story.?Pam Spencer, Fairfax County Public Schools, VA
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