***I received a free copy in exchange for a book review***
In a small town, a seventeen-year-old Chinese boy is found dead. An obvious suicide, say the police, and the family is left to grieve. Enter Charlie Kee, a relative and investigative reporter in from New York for the funeral. There are suspicious circumstances about the death and his questions stir up a lot of hate between him and the police chief, and with the local boys. But a skilled and relentless investigator, he picks up on the clues. And he is a man with a past that simmers hot and cold in his mind. What he uncovers stokes the fire of those emotions and throws him headlong into a tumultuous clash with hatred, with himself, and with Ann, a beautiful psychologist, who is journeying through emotions of her own.
This novel is a blend of action and drama centering around the investigation of a crime while exploring the issues of life and death, racism, the human condition. Charlie, with his cold exterior, is himself volatile like his enemies, and it is a thin line that divides them, one that only God might sort out as they come to an explosive climax.
I enjoyed this 33 chapter book. My favorite lines: 1) “I’m a reporter. We’re worse than nosy old women.” 2) Ann knew there was an area in the conscious where the mind went under heavy stress. There, confusion nullified pain, and fantasy eased reality. 3) “It’s been my experience that a quiet person has the most to say.” 4) It was not wise to wear your arrogance on your sleeve. Better to be two-faced and unassuming like him. 5) Charlie laughed. “That would make it too easy for you. Who would keep you honest?” When Charlie was in this kind of mood he invited trouble.
David was found dead behind the school building one day. He was only seventeen, which was sad. He could’ve had his whole life ahead of him. Not only did he die from a gunshot wound to the head, but a shady person did the autopsy, covering up secrets he didn’t want revealed to the public. David’s older cousin, Charlie, came for the funeral and to investigate. Luckily, he didn’t accept anything the sheriff was trying to sell.
- The big mystery: Did David really commit suicide? Or was he murdered? If murdered, who were the killer(s)? The ending definitely revealed an interesting twist. I didn’t see it coming!
I liked that Charlie had a violent streak. It made things interesting. Someone needed to be tough to stand up to the bullies in that town. The sheriff was shady–definitely a bad guy–with others following suit. The bullies/drug dealers were part of the KKK. Usually you hear how this group torments the black community, so it was interesting to hear from an Asian character’s perspective. The town thought he’d be timid and shy away from trouble. Charlie definitely wasn’t weak, which I respected as a reader. I cheered when he gave everyone what they deserved.
Headhopping was involved, and sometimes it was confusing when out of the blue flashbacks would occur. It slowed down the pace of the story a little bit. I loved the present-action, so I wished it would’ve stayed more on that. However, I really enjoyed the drama aspects of the story. And I liked how the author developed the friendship between Charlie and Ann; it was realistic instead of presented as a fairytale.
I RECOMMEND this book to read.