Monday, January 15, 2007

Year of the Detective

Rap Sheet contributor Anthony Rainone today assesses the strengths (and fewer weaknesses) of Henry Chang’s novel, Chinatown Beat, writing in January Magazine:
Some of the best crime novels are sociological explorations of place and time, in which law-breaking and mystery-solving elements are infused into a framework of cultural mores. There is perhaps no finer example of this technique than in Henry Chang’s Chinatown Beat. More than a driving novel of suspense or intrigue, Chinatown is a look at a segment of society closed to most people, who do not share its ethnic heritage. It is a novel of setting, though also of noirish foreboding. The plotlines followed by Chang are dark, and his characters are mired in a labyrinth of local customs and societal distrust. The setting--New York City's Chinatown--takes on an organic, life-sized existence, and it almost supersedes all other fictional components; it would have, had Chang not been so talented at character development. Chinatown Beat has flashes of brilliance diluted by less-eloquent sections, but the potential for Chang’s new series is bright--perhaps brighter than the subject within its pages.
You can find Rainone’s full review here.

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