Friday, October 31, 2008

Not bad for a Cat-Frightener

I just got an advance copy of SHANGHAI MOON, the latest installment in the amazing Bill Smith/Lydia Chin series by S.J. Rozan S.J. has a series of questions on her blog and was giving advance copies to her favorite answers. She said mine made her laugh, which startled the cat.

This is a fantastic series. The locations from New York to Shanghai and various other places are vividly described, the characters (down to the walk-ons) are so well characterized that you'd swear you know them. Finally the detective heroes feel like old friends. They are deeply flawed yet admirable people. You want them to win (they probably will) and you want them to solve their personal issues (not a chance) and get together. (Honestly, the series has managed to maintain a romantic/sexual tension between these two for nine novels now, and it's still working!)

Bill is the more typical of the two, a big, white, intellectual, tough-guy detective with a checkered past. Though he's the more familiar character type of the two, he's anything but a stereotype. Lydia is small, young, Chinese-American, and Bill's opposite in practically every way. The novels are written in first person and alternate voices. This time around Lydia is the narrator. Something remarkable that Rozan does is that Bill seen through Lydia's eyes is still recognizably Bill, but he's also very different from Bill through his own eyes. The same goes for Lydia in the two POV's. It's brilliant because it's so true.

Anyway, if you couldn't tell, I am eager to devour this one! I've dipped in enough to find that it revolves around an obscure but fascinating bit of history (did I mention that S.J. is also a teriffic researcher?). It seems that when the Nazis first started driving the Jews out of occupied Europe, many of them ended out in Shanghai, which was one of the only ports that would accept them.

I don;t know where the novel is going from there, but I'm goign to love finding out.

No comments: