A well-written review in Downtown Express has us excited about the third book in successful SohoCrime novel Red Jade, by Henry Chang. The article boasts that, “There are a lot of genre detectives who remain fairly two-dimensional. But Chang’s characters have more shadings, more nuances. You don’t just see the mystery. You see how it came about, and how people found themselves in the situation — so you get a more sympathetic view.” It suggests that Chang’s Chinatown Trilogy has one of the things we look for most in a mystery, or any story: reality.
If you haven’t picked up one of the series yet, the books tell the story of Jack Yu, a native from Chinatown who leaves his home to become a police officer, only to be transferred back because of his cultural knowledge and connections to the people. Every case brings him face-to-face with some aspect of his past, people he’d dealt with as an equal before leaving and earning his badge. Both the victims and perpetrators of the crimes he investigates are people he knew, bringing a personal, ethical layer to the drama. Red Jade is definitely in its own league.