Mysterious Book Report No. 393
by John Dwaine McKenna
Victor Li, the protagonist in a hot new crime thriller entitled Beijing Payback, (ECCO/Harper Collins, $26.99, 308 pages, ISBN 978-0-06-288664-4) by Daniel Nieh, is a twenty year-old California college student living the American dream as the novel begins. His only interests revolve around himself. There’s basketball, booze, his classes at San Dimas State University, keeping his scholarship, losing his virginity . . . despite his ineptitude with the opposite sex . . . and basketball, basketball, basketball. Victor and his big sister Jules have grown up spoiled, indulged and naive.
Their mother, a white Christian Missionary from Missouri, died of cancer almost a decade earlier. The two siblings have been nurtured and raised by their hard-working father; a Chinese man who operated four restaurants, and works tirelessly to give them a solid middle-class lifestyle. Unaware of the real world, they are utterly devastated when their father is murdered during a robbery at his Happy Year Restaurant. The homicide, shocking as it is however, is only the first of a series of revelations which will rock Victor and Jules world and change them forever.
When they begin the process of settling the estate, their carefully-arranged world of artifice collapses. Victor finds a confessional letter from his father, who admits he’s part of a criminal conspiracy, a smuggler involved in an international crime syndicate who’s betrayed his other partners by settling into a serene, comfortable American lifestyle amidst a Chinese neighborhood in a suburb of Los Angeles.
Victor goes to Beijing on a mission of revenge and finds himself immersed in a world of hidden agendas, intrigue and deadly life-ending violence. It’s an environment he’s not prepared for . . . and may not survive . . . but it’s where he’ll learn the awful truth about his father, his father’s life of crime and the merciless world that’s his heritage.
Beijing Payback is electrifying, original and fast-paced. It’s a terrific debut that promises to deliver much more from this outstanding young author in the near future!
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