Cover image for Caught dead : a Rick Van Lam mystery
Title:
Caught dead : a Rick Van Lam mystery
Author:
Lanh, Andrew, author.
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Scottsdale, AZ : Poisoned Pen Press, 2014.
Physical Description:
283 pages ; 23 cm
Summary:
"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"--Dust jacket flap.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9781464203305
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

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.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Connecticut insurance investigator Viet Rick Van Lam has one memory of life in Vietnam: his mother telling him that he was destined to become a police officer, a seeker after justice. After his dying mother leaves him at an orphanage, Rick is sent to America. Rick is boi doi a child of the dust part of a generation of Vietnamese children with American GI fathers. Rick becomes a New York City police officer but doesn't like the man it turns him into. Life in Hartford is much more mellow, until a Vietnamese beauty is gunned down in one of the city's most dangerous neighborhoods. Mary Le Vu and her twin sister were well known in their tight-knit community, and no one can imagine why Mary would have been in the middle of gang territory all alone. Rick's friend Hank asks him to investigate and helps him navigate Little Saigon and the strong family ties that run it. Rick has an eclectic support system Hank, his aging insurance mentor, a landlady who used to be a Rockette, and his ex-wife and frequent dinner companion, Liz. A unique investigator in a crowded field. This is a series to watch.--Keefe, Karen Copyright 2014 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

At the outset of this masterful series debut from Lahn (the pseudonym of Ed Ifkovic, author of Final Curtain and four other Edna Ferber mysteries), set in Hartford, Conn., Hank Nguyen begs his former professor, insurance fraud investigator Rick Van Lam, to take a look at the drive-by shooting of his relative, Mary Le Vu, who was known as one of the local Vietnamese community's "beautiful Le sisters." While the Hartford police are convinced Mary's death was just collateral damage in a gang war, Rick insists that the solution must lie in the lives of the first- and second-generation immigrants in her family. The Le family members initially seem to fit into obvious molds-the spoiled heiress, the grieving widower, the conservative immigrant parents-but Lanh expertly avoids stereotypes. Each character proves to be a richly drawn enigma. Indeed, Rick's exploration of the Le family is so engaging that readers may forget about the mystery itself. Lanh's faithful portrayal of the complexity of the human experience demonstrates that people, with their secrets and devious motives, are the most captivating mysteries of all. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.