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A Bitter Feast (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #5)
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A Bitter Feast (Lydia Chin & Bill Smith #5)

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3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  357 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Joining the company of Sue Grafton, Jonathan Kellerman, and Patricia Cornwell, Shamus Award-winner S.J. Rozan now owns a coveted Anthony Award for Best Novel for her No Colder Place. The Washington Post has called her Bill Smith/Lydia Chin novels “a series to watch for.” Booklist deemed Rozan “a major figure in contemporary mystery fiction.” Now it's your turn-- to discove
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ebook, 320 pages
Published April 1st 2010 by Minotaur Books (first published 1998)
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aPriL eVoLvEs
Clever Lydia Chin takes the leading role in #5 of the series. She is everything I wish I was; funny, physically adept and brave, thinks on her feet. She treads the thick boundary between the first generation of Chinatown immigrants and the born in America Chinese children with diplomacy, affection and deep understanding of her culture. While she is solving a case, as usual the reader is allowed a peak into Chinese sensibilities and the history behind them.

In the contest between two strongmen of
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Linda Lombardi
I read this for two of the stupidest reasons ever:
1. I had read one book in this series, and couldn't remember if I liked it enough to read another; and
2. When I was messing around looking at the author's other books on my Kindle, I bought it by accident.

Since (1) happened because I never got around to posting a review here, let me at least leave this note to myself: "You liked this well enough to read another one, idiot."

It's not perfect - I feel like I can see the machinery turning too much in
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Onur İskenderoğlu
Nov 30, 2012 Onur İskenderoğlu rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: L9-10
If you want real excitement, I have a book for you. “A Bitter Feast”, carries action at high quality with the series’ mystifying characters Lydia Chin and Bill Smith.
A Bitter Feast by S.J. Rozan with a Shamus Award and its genre is dedective literature. The target audience is the people who like dedective stories, most likely young adults. The setting is Chinatown, NY. I choose this book because when I looked at the cover page, this book made me want to read. Then I read the book for a little wh
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Kathy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Peggy
I enjoy this series about two New York P.I.'s - Lydia Chinn and her sometimes partner Bill Smith. Lydia is an American born Chinese living with her mother in Chinatown. Bill is a hard boiled New Yorker. Their chemistry is undeniable. In this story Lydia is looking for 4 missing waiters from a local Chinese restaurant. The workers have been talking of unionizing. Power struggles in the Chinatown hierarchy, drug dealing, and smuggling people from China add up to a satisfying mystery. A great read.
Glenn Harris
Extremely well-written and plotted, this series features private detectives Lydia Chin and Bill Smith, the books alternating between the two of them as primary investigator and narrator though they always team up for the case. This one has Lydia in the lead as she tries to find some missing restaurant workers who may have been disappeared because of their union activities. Needless to say, it turns out to be MUCH more complicated than that.
Joy
Pretty good entry in the series. Lydia and Bill are people I can imagine having a good time hanging out with over dinner. This had an intricate plot and I very much enjoy the glimpse into life in Chinatown.
Brenda Mengeling
Excellent mystery set in Chinatown in NYC. Lydia Chin is the young PI, along with her employee/partner Bill Smith. In A Bitter Feast, Lydia tells the story in first person (other Chin/Smith mysteries have Bill as the narrator, although I haven't read one of those yet). The Chinatown setting with its myriad customs is as much a character in the story as the actual people. The dialog is sharp and clever, and the story involving waiters legally and illegally immigrating to the US, union organizatio ...more
Jan
Classic S J Rozan... Not as intense as some of the books in the series, but still a great read!
Deb Oestreicher
Lydia Chin is engaged to find four Chinese restaurant workers who have disappeared, against the backdrop of an ongoing unionization effort being supported by her best friend's boyfriend, an attorney. Are the workers victims of an unscrupulous restaurant owner? She goes undercover as a dim sum lady to find out more. One of the most fascinating aspects of this story is the discussion of Chinatown's various immigrant subcultures.

Of course, Bill Smith has a role in this, too, but possibly his favor
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Susan
This entry in the Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series set in New York’s Chinatown, is told from Lydia’s point of view. Four restaurant workers, including a union organizer, have disappeared, and the union's lawyer hires Lydia to find them. When a bomb explodes at the union’s headquarters, killing one of the missing men; she decides to go undercover at the restaurant as a dim sum waitress. This series (the Lydia half) is becoming one of my favorites with the complex dynamics between the characters and t ...more
Robert J.
A Bitter Feast is an excellent entry in the series, this time from Lydia Chin's perspective. The Chinese-American details made me feel I was part of the community, very well done. I did guess the basic solution about half way through, very New York nineties plot resolution, and the plot doesn't wear very well with the years I'm afraid, but the characters and writing do make it better.
Jim Willse


This is the fifth Bill Smith/Lydia Chin mystery I've read by a hugely undervalued SJ Rozan. Rozan alternates between Chin (in this one) and Smith as the first-person voice. Chin is a feisty Chinese-American, Smith a grizzled vet of the PI racket. Part of the charm of the understated series is the quiet mating dance they do. Another is the NYC backdrop, especially Chinatown . There are a dozen books in the series, and I'll read them all.
Catherine Woodman
This is a good series (for a murder mystery series)--in this book Lydia and Bill start to build a little bit more of a friendship rather than just a partnership. The action takes place largely in Chinatown, as it true of previous books, and is a reasonable plot line. Lydia has an overly involved Chinese mother, and so has the tension of modern girl versus traditional girl going on as well. Enjoyable
Richard Thompson
Not as engaging as the other Rozan books that we have read recently.

Four workers at a Chinese restaurant go missing. Is this about the union? About Chinatown politics? Something bigger involving the government? Drugs?

A lot of players with unclear agendas and relationships. No one that we get close enough to to really care about.

And a lot of loose ends at the end.

Not a bad read but not her best.
Lian Tanner
I can't work out which of the Rozan books I like more - the ones written from Bill's pov or the ones written from Lydia Chin's pov. This one is Lydia, and the details of Chinatown and its mores add to the great writing to create another fascinating story. Plus of course the very slow moving relationship between Lydia and Bill and the question of whether they will or will not eventually get together ...
CarolineFromConcord
Another good one about Lydia Chin, a young private investigator in Chinatown (NYC) and her older, Caucasian partner, Bill Smith. In this episode they tackle issues related to illegal immigration. Very timely even though written in 1997. The author is not Chinese and is an architect, but she sure writes good mysteries about Chinese culture.
Bnschmid
I didn't really like this book when I first started reading it,but about half-way through,it started getting interesting.It was about anAmerican-born Chinese girl who,of course,owned a detective agency and lived in Chinatown and had to deal with Chinese mobsters and gang members.But it wasn't bad.I don't regret reading it.
Kathryn McCary
Fifth of the Chin/Smith mysteries, the third told in Lydia's voice. An interesting investigation of issues of immigration--legal and illegal--against the backdrop of Chinatown's restaurants, and its mobs. Thoughtful and engaging, but with a steady drive towards a strong ending.
Lois
I really love Rozan's work. This one is from Lydia's viewpoint. We learn about immigrants (illegal), unions, Bill and Lydia together.
LizH
Another installment from Lydia's point of view. This was just ok for me, but I liked the mystery and twist. Will continue on...
Michael Hopson
Rozan has a great detective duo in a Chinese woman - Lydia Chin - and her WASP Bill Smith. So far all have been very good reads.
Rhesa
Love this series - the characters are great & the NYC locales, particularly Chinatown, are great.
Rebecca
Delicious, although slightly predictable. The best of the Lydia Chin books so far.
Michael Hinsley
Thouroughly engaging, very Han-Mei! ABC to FOB, Quang Dong Hoa!
Beverly
This book was convoluted and confusing.
Greg Gleason
Weakest of the series (so far), but still OK.
Debra
Debra added it
Nov 21, 2014
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SJ Rozan, a native New Yorker, is the author of nine novels. She has won the the Edgar, Nero, Macavity, Shamus and Anthony awards for Best Novel and the Edgar award for Best Short Story. She is a former Mystery Writers of America National Board member, a current Sisters in Crime National Board member, and President of the Private Eye Writers of America. In January 2003 she was an invited speaker a ...more
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