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One Red Bastard: Lin

The Chinese community is very tight and has customs that most people follow. The time period is 1976 and the setting is New York City and the case is located in Chinatown. Robert Chow is a Chinese American Detective hoping to get his gold shield. A veteran of the Vietnam War, a recovering alcoholic he is trying to become a first rate detective. Lonnie, his girlfriend works as a reporter and where events will spiral in a dangerous path. Lonnie is scene with Mr. Chen a diplomat who came here to deal with the defection of the daughter of Mao. But, first get know Robert Chow more who has taken on the role of mentor or older brother for Lonnie’s brother Paul who spent most of his young life being abused and now has the chance to turn it all around. Lonnie’s dad was short and so is Paul but his intelligence goes way above his height as he is in a special college program doing research. Doing the interview was not the problem and leaving with Mr. Chen who walked Lonnie to her car service would turn out to be the first step in having her accused of killing him as the last person to see him alive or was she? Chow is angry and realizes that Lonnie is in deep trouble even though as first she seems to not think she is but later on unfortunately after being questioned by the police in Manhattan South she will learn what prejudice and rough treatment really stands for. Working for the wire service and being part of the UN, she begins to write up her interview which goes viral but after a while things turn sour as she is being shadowed by the detectives from Manhattan South and Robert Chow is out to clear her name.

The community where this novel takes place is Chinatown and we learn about the many diverse groups that belong there. However, Communism is high and several different branches make up this area and the fight for control brings gangs, violence and death within this area. Chow is a detective and tries to help anyone in the community in need but sometimes politics takes over and poor decision making that hamper the outcomes. The police have their own hierarchy and are often helpless against the gangs, other precincts and even community workers and leaders trying to get kids off the streets but belonging to a gang as you hear the voices of many of the teens means someone has your back. The police in this story want to find the killer but sometimes you wonder if they become so jaded and cannot see the clues that are right in front of them. Chen’s killer seems to be elusive but sometimes the person might be hiding in plain sight. The mid-70’s the political scene focuses on post-Mao communist China as oppose to those that are Taiwan-based nationalist Kuomintang. The United States was making it turn and recognizing the People’s Republic of China. Mao’s daughter wanted asylum but we never meet or hear her voice in this novel and Chen Xiaochuan is sent to broker the way for her but turns up dead. Chow goes deep undercover to find the killer with the help of a Chinatown power broker and one police inspector and his partner. John Vandyne is his partner and a veteran of the Vietnam War and always has his back. Bent on finding the killer Chow who has finally found his way into a squad and has a great partner who is now a detective finds himself coming up with a list of who he thinks might have killed Chen. So, who moved his body after he was killed to Roosevelt Park?

Fake Communist Groups, gangs, more friction from the higher ups and Chow and his partner do some clandestine surveillance at night but when Chow goes it alone threats are made and entering different restaurants especially one noted for gambling could prove dangerous. There is no respect or code of respect towards cops and although Chow tries to go by the book at times going stepping on the rules pays off and sometimes it does not. When David Song a young cop just starting out goes through mug books and recognizes the pictures of some drug dealers he alerts Chow and he joins him and Vandyne to get these guys and gets chewed out by his boss for supposedly endangering the young cop.

The lawyers for Presswire at first tell Lonnie that she has nothing to worry about until her bosses refuse to publish her work and say she is not handing in the right amount of stories leading readers to believe that there is more at work then just the murder. Lonnie describes her driver as wearing a cap and having a mole on his face but when the reader finally meets the driver you will realize that many drivers appear to be the same and some things that seem real are not.

Mr. Song illuminates even more talking about the fact that they do not care if people leave China. If they want to go they can. Together Chinese Kinship members all left China and yet we have dialog with Beijing. They don’t talk to his group they consider them traitors. There’s a lot of racism and prejudice within this community.

Who killed Chen? There are many reasons why some would want him gone but after the death why remove one of his fingers? The midget plays a huge role in this story and working with him and talking it out helps Chow but the problem he defines is that there are many reasons someone would kill him. He even eludes that it might be a pro-Communist move or an anti-Communist move. It could be a pro-feminist move taking out this older man who was in a position of power. But, he was there on Li Na’s behalf but she might represent Mao Tse-tung but her mother, Jiang Qing is the leader of the Gang of Four. Her mother was branded as a leader of a counterrevolutionary clique, and then her political future was grim.

Gangs, tough teens and then a young guy named Lincoln who is supposed to help at the aftercare school center but in reality he is selling drugs to the kids he’s supposed to be helping and fooling the woman in charge thinking he is wonderful and kindhearted.

His old girlfriend Barbara was a link and called with information stating that a man named Mr. Wilson Yi wanted to see Chow but why? Mr. Yi explained to Robert that there are fringe elements, the extreme right wing of the KMT, who are outraged by the murder. They think that Mr. Chen was murdered because he and Li Na were embarrassing the mainland. Mao’s daughter could not be killed so they chose Mr. Chen. Characters like Midget Mean Face, Brow and others whose names are not usually indicative of characters yet each playing their own role within this novel.

Robert and the midget were having a heated discussion about why he went to see Mr. Song. How did Midget know that he went to see him and why call Robert stupid? The author elaborates by including that both the Communists and the KMT are desperate. The communists want that official diplomatic relationship with the U.S. and want Taiwan out. The KMT has threatened to join the Soviet Bloc if America severs ties and recognizes Taiwan.

Regulations changed and the use of cameras and taking pictures of suspects was not allowed and now using a creative method that Vandyne came up with they would have to write and record the physical descriptions observed and use other types of markers to help.

Mean Face was part of the crew and Lincoln seemed to be up to something when observed. Mean Face explained the hierarchy of gang allegiance and why kids, teens were smart and how they decide which gang to join and why. Finding Bad Boy and using him to get to the real killers their ingenious grab and taking him into custody would hopefully reveal what Robert was piecing together the motive behind the murder and who was behind it and why.

When the final pieces came together and the killer/s in custody Robert has an unusual talk with Midget about Lonnie’s career and where he sees her in the future. Will she stay with Presswife? Will she wind up with Chow? What about her parents and their viewpoint about respect and careers? What about the kids that live in fear in this area of Chinatown and have stay on the streets, carry guns like Drew who worked for Midget but got fired hoping he would seek something better? The ending will surprise readers as the link to the reason why he was killed links right back to Mr. Chen and his past. Surprises, twists and murders and talk about communism, hate, racism and prejudice and one man named Mr. Chin or as the title states: ONE RED BASTARD!

Fran Lewis; Just reviews/MJ magazine

 

About Just Reviews by:gabina49:

author educator book reviewer for authors reading and writing staff developer Book reviewer for manic readers, ijustfinished.com book pleasures and authors upon request blog tours on my blog and interviews with authors I am the author of five published books. I wrote three children's books in my Bertha Series and Two on Alzheimer's. Radio show talk host on Red River Radio/Blog Talk Radio Book Discussion with Fran Lewis the third Wed. of every month at one eastern. I interview 2 authors each month feature their latest releases. I review books for authors upon request and my latest book Sharp As A Tack or Scrambled Eggs Which Describes Your Brain? Is an E book, Kindle and on Xlibris.com Some of the proceeds from this last book will go to fund research in the area of Brain Traumatic Injury in memory of my sister Marcia who died in July.

Discussion

2 thoughts on “One Red Bastard: Lin

  1. Once my current pile dwindles, I want to read this book!

    Posted by Cheryl | December 1, 2017, 2:11 pm

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