Poisoned Pen Press Mystery/Thriller (Rick Van Lam 1st in series)
For anyone who lived through the Vietnam War or is a student of its history, this first book of Andre Lanh (aka as Ed Ifkovic who writes absorbing mysteries) will ring true. The children—who had the misfortune to have a Vietnamese mother and U.S. father who disappeared when his tour was over—suffered innumerable assaults mentally and physically. Rick Van Lam, one of these children, was sent to a Catholic Charity organization at the age of five and found his way to America. Like all people, Rick carries the pain of his past with him, but for Rick, his lack of acceptance in the Vietnamese community in Connecticut too frequently summons bad dreams. He has done well for himself, teaching criminal justice at a community college and working as a private investigator for an insurance company, but he is still treated as part of the Yellow Peril. He works to find the killer of a Vietnamese woman at the request of his friend, Hank, who is full-bloodied Vietnamese and helps him navigate between two hostile worlds. Lanh’s characters expertly develop the hostilities and rivalries rife from page one. Detailed settings effortlessly drew me into the scenes. A well-thought out, somewhat complex book with a winning, new protagonist.
This review was provided by Mahala Church for her column Barefoot Reviews in the March 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.