Follow Her Home

Mysterious Book Report No. 117

by John Dwaine McKenna

As regular readers of the Mysterious Book Report, know we work to search out and find debut mysteries written by first-time authors and grow as fans with them, rather than bowing and scraping at the feet of the mega-writers with seven or eight figure publishing contracts from the giants of the industry—although we do admit to occasionally genuflecting near them, by occasionally reviewing the masters in order to serve the entire reading public.  But, our focus will always be on finding our next great author rather than our most favorite old ones.  This week we’ve got a new author and book and, guess what, it’s aimed squarely at the lady readers in the crowd!  It’s unique, it’s good, and, there’s no Irish tough guy cops to be found anywhere in it.  That’s because Follow Her Home, (Minotaur Books, $24.99, 278 pages, ISBN 978-1-250-00962-3) by Steph Cha is about a Korean-American amateur detective named Juniper Song, who has a thing for the novels of Raymond Chandler and his hard-boiled detective, Phillip Marlowe.  (The character played by Humphrey Bogart in The Maltese Falcon, and always referred to simply as Marlowe.)

The mystery begins at a party when Song is asked by her white YaleUniversity classmate, Luke, if she thinks his father, a prominent and powerful Los Angeles lawyer, is having an affair with a young, eighteen  year old Korean beauty named Lori.  Song agrees to investigate and the mystery begins, interwoven with a back story about Iris, Song’s tragic younger sister, also involved with an older white man in a case of what author Cha refers to as ‘yellow fever,’ or older white men who are infatuated with young Asian women and pursue them in trans-racial relationships which are frowned upon by most Asian parents.

Follow her Home is dark, brooding, noir-ish and full of references to Phillip Marlow.  It’s fun, entertaining and a fast read.  But, with sentences like this on page 171, “. . . she wore a raspberry cap-sleeve cotton dress with a full skirt and Peter Pam collar with tan ballet flats.”  It’s definitely not a guy type novel.  The ladies however, will love it!

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