Cover image for White Ginger
White Ginger
Robinson, Thatcher, 1952-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Amherst, NY : Seventh Street Books, an imprint of Prometheus Books, 2013.
Physical Description:
293 pages ; 21 cm
Armed with Buddhist philosophy and wicked knife skills, Bai Jiang works at being a better person by following her conscience, while struggling with what she likes to think of as "aggressive assertiveness."
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FICTION Adult Fiction Mystery/Suspense

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Fierce loyalties, staunch compassion, and a weakness for strays lead Bai Jiang--San Francisco's best known  souxun , or people finder--into violent conflicts that test her pacifist beliefs in the brutal world she lives in.
     Armed with Buddhist philosophy and wicked knife skills, Bai Jiang works at being a better person by following her conscience, while struggling with what she likes to think of as "aggressive assertiveness."
     When a girl goes missing in San Francisco's Chinatown, Bai is called upon as a  souxun , a people finder, to track down the lost girl. The trail leads to wannabe gangsters, flesh peddlers, and eventually to those who have marked Bai for death.
     Enlisting the aid of her closest friend and partner, Lee--a sophisticated gay man who protects her, mostly from herself--and Jason--a triad assassin and the father of her daughter--they follow the girl across the Bay and across the country. Bai confronts paid assassins and triad hatchet men, only to find that being true to her beliefs as a Buddhist and staying alive are often at odds. At the same time, fighting a faceless enemy who seems committed to having her killed fills her with anger and fear that sometimes turns into a burning rage with deadly consequences. 
     Flavored with dark humor,  White Ginger  serves the perfect cocktail of wit, charm, sex, and violence.

Author Notes

Thatcher Robinson  (Carmichael, CA) is a full-time writer. He was previously employed as the chief operating officer of an Internet security firm that develops top-secret cyber warfare materials for the military and various government agencies. Prior to that, he was a software specialist at IBM research laboratories in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The granddaughter of one of the most notorious triad overlords in San Francisco's Chinatown, Bai Jiang, is a souxon, or people finder. Her large inheritance allows her to pick and choose her cases. In this well-paced debut, she searches for a teenage girl whose brother traded her to a brothel in exchange for admittance to a local gang. Tracking the girl, Bai, business partner Lee, and Bai's dangerously sexy ex-boyfriend, Jason, encounter and summarily dispatch an assortment of assassins, pimps, and teenage thugs. Bai acquires extra backup when she gets the head of security at her daughter's school fired for slipping her a copy of some incriminating video footage. As the bodies pile up, Bai realizes that she's the real center of the storm. Identifying her enemies is easy, but deciding whether to let them live or not proves more complicated. A dagger-throwing Buddhist, Bai is a one-of-a-kind protagonist. Fans of feisty female investigators will find much to like in Robinson's first novel.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2010 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Robinson's uneven first novel introduces Bai Jiang, a souxun (or people finder) in San Francisco's Chinatown. When 15-year-old Yu Ma comes to Bai and begs her to find her missing friend Jia Yan (who is also 15), Bai takes on the case. Her search for Jia leads her out of her neighborhood, with its gangs, killers, and sex traffickers, to Vancouver, Canada. While Bai is equally adept at inserting herself into risky situations as she is finding people, the reader has no sense that Bai could ever fail. Bai's emotional dilemma over the conflict between her Buddhism and use of violence comes across as far-fetched as she chooses force at almost every juncture. In addition, her penchant for going after the villains before thinking things through wears the plot thin in places, while her philosophic insights can come across as sophomoric in the face of the despicable crimes she confronts. Agent: Kimberley Cameron, Kimberley Cameron & Associates. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Review

Bai Jiang is a souxon, a people finder, working in San Francisco's Chinatown. Raised within the brutal world of the triad (Chinese organized crime), she is uniquely situated to help those in need in this secretive and brutal culture. A practicing Buddhist with a lethal fighting style, our heroine is an intriguing contradiction. This mystery opens with Bai and her partner Lee accepting an assignment to rescue a young Chinese girl sold into the sex trade. It isn't long before Bai realizes that triad politics, her ex-husband Jason, and even the safety of her daughter are in play. VERDICT The taut writing and excellent action sequences make this debut an engrossing read. The chemistry between Bai and her ex add a sensual flavor, but the Chinese proverbs titling each chapter prove a bit trying (especially since the same phrase is repeated in the chapter), and the author would do well to omit this in the next installment. Readers who like their suspense novels propelled by a strong female protagonist against the backdrop of a foreign culture will want to give this book a shot.-Amy Nolan, St. Joseph, MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.