By Ed Lin
A Taipei Night Market Novel (Book #2)
Crime (October, 2016)
Kindle edition: $14.99
Reviewed by Cherie Jung
Chen Jing-Nan is asked by his uncle – his gangster uncle – Big Eye to do him a favor. Of course one doesn’t refuse a familial request during the culturally important Moon Festival – or probably ever, if the request comes from Big Eye himself, backed up by a couple of his henchmen. The favor is to find his 16-year-old daughter, Mei-ling, who has run away with her biker boyfriend, bring her back, and straighten her out. Chen Jing-Nan quickly discovers this is no simple favor.
I liked the premise of the book and the narrator’s breezy, often humorous, attitude but I became bogged down in some of the abundant details, especially the music/band references. “Less is more,” would be an apt caution to the author as he continues the series.
Some of the characters were a bit grating but then, so are people in real life. As a reader, we’re not expected to like every character. We’re even supposed to not like certain characters. The author does a credible job of giving his characters distinct and individual traits. I may not have liked the Mei-ling character or Nancy, Chen Jing-Nan’s girlfriend – or to be more accurate, I found them very irritating – but I never confused the two.
The author provides a glimpse into the diverse social, economic, and political tones of modern day Taiwan. The reader becomes immersed in the daily activities of the characters. The excursions through the city and the buzzing activity in Taipei’s Shilin Night Market may leave the reader feeling as if they had just experienced an all-expense paid guided tour!
I missed the first book in this series, GHOST MONTH, but I’ve added it to my “to read” list.
Other titles in this series: GHOST MONTH. The author also writes the Robert Chow crime series set in 1970s Manhattan Chinatown.
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