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Hong Kong Perfect Paperback – Jan 1 2001


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Perfect Paperback, Jan 1 2001
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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 404 pages
  • Publisher: Orion; First THUS edition (Jan. 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752837354
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752837352
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 2.7 x 17.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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First Sentence
One tiny, red, liquid drop of blood was visible in the center of the small, neat hole in China Bob Chan's forehead an inch or so above his right eye. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

2.8 out of 5 stars

Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
This book is not the best entry in the Jake Grafton series (I still hold out for the first, Flight of the Intruder) but it is a very good book, if you can put up with a couple of annoyances. The plot is rather simple. Grafton goes to Hong Kong at the behest of the government. His mission is to investigate whether the American consul there is getting involved in something he shouldn't be. The reason for sending Grafton is that a lifetime ago he flew missions in Viet Nam with the guy, and they're friends. So Jake goes to Hong Kong, and takes his wife along, because he met her in that city thirty years ago.
When they arrive, things get hot pretty fast. In addition to Jake's old friend (now a dot-com billionaire) there are various spies of dubious loyalties, an even more doubtful smuggler, and the usual Communist monsters running things. Coonts' politics are rather apparent (the fictional Democrat President has been bought off by the Communist leadership, and the Communists themselves are scum) and may be offensive to some people, or at least a bit annoying. His action sequences are fun, though I will say that the bit with the combat robots was a bit much.
Overall I enjoyed the book, though, and would recommend it.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I found this book rather disappointing, even though it did get quite exciting towards the end with the descriptions of how the rebel forces take on the Chinese Army and manage to take over Hong Kong.
My biggest criticism has to do with the way Jake Grafton responds to the kidnapping of his wife Callie by Hong Kong crime boss Sonny Wong. Jake knows that Sonny has Callie locked up somewhere, is having her tortured, and probably intends to kill her when he gets the information he wants and/or gets the ransom he is demanding.
So what does Jake do? He stages a raid on Sonny's restaurant, shooting a guard dead in the process. Jake then confronts Sonny and finishes up by setting fire to Sonny's restaurant. But does he demand his wife released here and now? No! Jake makes various threats to Sonny about what he'll do if Callie is harmed and then walks away!
I found that action so crazy that I spent most of the rest of the book wondering how Jake could be so dumb as to act like that. As a small redeeming feature even Jake wonders how he was so dumb: 100 pages later he's thinking of himself in the third person and saying, "He had his chance last night. He should have stuck his revolver up Wong's nose and told him he was going to blow his f***ing head off if he didn't produce Callie in a quarter of an hour."
Of course Jake eventually learns where Callie is being held captive and stages another raid in which he manages to free her. But still, how could he have been so dumb (and so uncaring?) to not exploit his first chance to get Callie freed?
I also found it somewhat problematic that the "Sergeant York" fighting robots were so advanced. This book is supposed to be a techno-thriller, but these robots were so intelligent and so powerful that it was more like science fiction.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a fun "airport novel", but when I lived in Hong Kong in the 90s there were several novels and nonfiction books available that gave me a much better understanding of Hong Kong, and tallied with the Hong Kong I was actually experiencing. Three fine literary novels about Hong Kong are *Kowloon Tong* by Paul Theroux, set at the Handover and dealing with British, Chinese and Americans; it effectively evokes the sleazy underbelly of the city - I felt I met or encountered many of the types described here during my 2 & 1/2 years living there. The story line is something like Graham Greene with a dash of Saul Bellow and Gore Vidal - this novel was banned in Mainland China for being a little too accurate. Timothy Mo's *The Monkey King* is about an eccentric Hong Kong Chinese family and gives a a whole host of recognizable Hong Kong attitudes - you will see and meet many of the types described in this book if you're domiciled there - it is also blisteringly funny. Somerset Maugham's *The Painted Veil* caused writs to be served in Hong Kong when it was first published in the 1920s - yet the mannerisms of some of the British characters in this book were still discernible in those of the Western community in the 1990s Hong Kong - especially the more foppish or boorish ones.
Jan Morris's non-fiction *Hong Kong* gives an extremely absorbing account of the place - especially detailed on the tragic, sad history of the millions of Chinese refugees who fled China in the 1950s to the 70s to the safety of British rule in Hong Kong - these are the people who make up Hong Kong today. Great material on the British, too.
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By A Customer on July 20 2002
Format: Hardcover
I don't know if you need to have read others in the series to appreciate Jake Grafton, but I never warmed to him or his wife or any of his other characters, so I could not have cared less what happens to them.
I got no sense at all of living in Hong Kong, and all of the pooitical material seemed like so much nonsense to me. Trying to make the murderer the glamorous guy who single-handedly goes off to start his own civil war to supposedly 'save' Hong Kong from the evil red menace simply offends me. There is nothing glamorous about war except for the profiteers, and there has to be some moral compass even for people who are supposedly defending freedom-going around killing people is the ultimate in tyranny and repression, no matter who is doing it.
The conclusion with the robots was easily the most ridiculous thing I have ever read.
He may have written other good books, but after reading this one, I think I will skip him and go for a really good fast-action writer like David Alexander.
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