Thursday, April 23, 2015

Caught Dead: A Rick Van Lam Mystery by Andrew Lanh

One of the beautiful Le sisters is dead. 

Hartford, Connecticut's small Vietnamese community is stunned. Mary Le Vu, wife of a poor grocery-store owner, is gunned down in a drive-by. Her twin sister insists dutiful Mary “wouldn't be caught dead” in that drug-infested zone. The police rule it an unlucky accident. Skeptics hire private eye Rick Van Lam to get to the truth.  

Amerasian Rick --his father an unknown US soldier --is one of the Bui Doi, children of the dust, so often rejected by Vietnamese culture. But his young sidekick, Hank Nguyen, a pureblood Vietnamese, can help Rick navigate the closed world of Little Saigon. Surrounded by close friends --a former-Rockette landlady, his crusty mentor, and his ex-wife Liz --Rick immerses himself in a world that rejects him, but now needs his help. Especially when a second murder strikes in Little Saigon.  

Rick and Hank delve into the families of the Le sisters, one poor, one very rich, and uncover a world of explosive ethnic tension and sinister criminal activity ranging from Hartford's exclusive white suburbs to the impoverished inner city. To solve the murders --and bring closure to Mary's grieving circle --Rick looks to long-buried memories of his Buddhist childhood for the wisdom that will lead him to a murderer. Caught Dead starts a smart, unusual series. 

Caught Dead is a great thrill ride.  What starts out as a sad tale of one sister’s death turns into a mystery that seems unsolvable.  Rick Van Lam is asked to look into the death because he can get answers that the police can’t seem to get.  You meet a great mix of characters in this book and each one of them has so many flaws that you don’t know who to like, trust or just outright dislike, but they all draw you in. 

I started trying to guess who the killer was and every time I thought I knew who and why, I was proven wrong. Caught Dead is a great ride of a book and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I actually found that I couldn't put this book down and while the pace was fast I was wishing for it to slow down so that I could savor it 

While Rick Van Lam is the main protagonist he is supported by a team of characters.  There is Jimmy his partner in a private investigators office.  Liz his ex-wife who he still has a thing for.  Hank who is training to become a cop and who’s Vietnamese family has taken Rick in. Gracie his landlord who loves to help in any way possible. 

Then there are the Torcelli and Vu families.  While they are grieving their Mother and Aunt they each have something to hide.  But what is it? Each character is more intriguing than the next. 
This story is great.  Not only is the writing fabulous, you are swept away with the story.  You can picture each person and who they are reacting to what his happening.  I would highly recommend this book to everyone.   

Andrew Lanh is a pseudonym of Ed Ifkovic. Ifkovic taught literature and creative writing at a community college in Connecticut for over three decades, and now devotes himself to writing fiction. A longtime devotee of mystery novels, he fondly recalls his boyhood discovery of Earle Stanley Gardner's Perry Mason series in a family bookcase, and his immediate obsession with the whodunit world. 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.  Stephanie

1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed this one when I read it too. I'm hoping for another featuring Rick and Hank.


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