May 2, 2014

Book Review: Death Money by Henry Chang

Friday 56 Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader  *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grabs you. *Post it. *Add your (url) post in Linky at Freda's Voice.
Also Book Beginnings by Rose City Reader.

Death Money

Title: Death Money: a Detective Jack Yu Investigation by Henry Chang
Published April 15, 2014; Soho Crime
Genre: police procedural

  page 56
"Find out anything, bro?" It was Billy Bow.
"Yeah, he's Chinese,"snapped Jack. "Why?"
"Last name Chang, right?" teased Billy.
"And you know that how?"Jack countered.
"Ancient Chinese secret."
"Stop f---ing around, Billy. It's a homicide deal now."

Book beginning:
It was 7 A.M. when Detective Jack Yu stepped into the frigid dawn spreading over Sunset Park.A slate gray Brooklyn morning with single-digit temperatures driven by wind shrieking off the East River. He scanned Eighth Avenue for the Chinese see gay radio cars bur saw none, only a couple of Taipan minibuses, sai-ba, queued up a block away from the Double Eight Cantonese restaurant.

(above quotes taken from an advance uncopyedited edition of the book; final copy may differ)

Publisher description: 
Novelist Henry Chang returns us to the Chinatown of NYPD Detective Jack Yu, and spins one of his most noir tales yet. When the body of an unidentified Asian man is found in the Harlem River, NYPD Detective Jack Yu is pulled in to investigate. The murder takes Jack from the benevolent associations of Chinatown to the take-out restaurants, strip clubs, and underground gambling establishments of the Bronx, to a wealthy, exclusive New Jersey borough. It's a world of secrets and unclear allegiances, of Chinatown street gangs and major Triad players. With the help of an elderly fortune teller and an old friend, the unpredictable Billy Bow, Jack races to solve his most difficult case yet.

My comments:
I enjoyed the author's previous books, Year of the Dog and Red Jade, and continue to find the world of NYC's Chinatown fascinating, as it appears in this series. The novel has a no-holds-barred frankness that may shock some, but its honesty in its portrayal of people, places, and situations makes it an intriguing book.
There is a subplot that I wish had been developed more in the novel - Jack Yu's romance with an attractive Chinese lawyer. The subplot could help to lighten some of the tense events of the mystery novel as it went along.

I received a complimentary ARC of this book from the publisher.


  1. Sounds exciting...I love books that show the setting as well as the action. Thanks for sharing, and here's mine:

  2. Sounds like an intriguing read.

  3. Sounds like fun, and rather snarky--which I love :)

  4. Love the beginning. I wanna get hold of it!!.

    Here is my Book Beginning post!!

    Great 56 too!!

    Here is my Friday 56post!!

  5. Sounds like an exciting read! I love the cover as well. Nice choices for BB and your 56 :)
    Come see my Friday 56
    -Kimberly @ Turning the Pages

  6. Sounds like an interesting read. I like that Billy is a cheeky character but how does he fit into the investigation, I wonder?!

    Happy weekend!

  7. "Ancient Chinese secret."!! Sounds like someone's a bit ornery!! I like it!!
    Here's My 56

  8. I haven't heard about this book, but it sounds really good.

    Have a great weekend!

  9. Harvee,

    This sounds like it will be very good! I'd probably enjoy the setting as well as I have been to NY's Chinatown many times.

  10. Love the snide comment ("Ancient Chinese secret!") Sounds like a good one. Here is my Friday Post

  11. I like the grittiness of the quoted passages and the description of the book.

    I think that I agree with if I read this book, the subplot that you describe sounds like it would provided some relief from the remainder of the narrative.

  12. My mother loved China Town. We lived in Philadelphia. Whenever we were downtown, she'd make a stop in China Town. I couldn't understand her fascination with China Town. It all seemed so foreign. I wouldn't feel comfortable until we left China Town. I would probably enjoy it a lot more now that I'm grown up. I like this mystery. Strange man found in New York river. Hmmm.

  13. Sounds good. I have been to NYC's Chinatown a few times myself :)

  14. Another mystery...sounds quite interesting. I bet there are tons of bodies in the East River. :)

    THANKS for sharing.

    Silver's Reviews
    My Book Beginnings


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