Chinaman's Chance
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Chinaman's Chance (Arthur Case Wu #1)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  398 ratings  ·  37 reviews
From Edgar Award-winning author Ross Thomas comes an exciting thriller featuring Artie Wu and Quincy Durant--the leading characters in his widely acclaimed novel, Out on the Rim. In this fast-paced story, Wu and Durant investigate a complex web of corruption in Southern California.
Paperback, 334 pages
Published July 1st 1988 by Mysterious Press (first published 1978)
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"Wu looked past Durant to the ocean, still gray from the overcast, although the horizon, for some reason, was clearly defined - so clearly, in fact, that Catalina was plainly visible, which it seldom was, even on clear days. 'I've had a couple of ideas,' Wu continued, 'which, when you hear them, might help you to understand why they used to call us Oriental folks wily.'

'Shifty, too.'

'Well, this is one of the shiftiest ideas I've ever had, but it might make us a little money.'

'How much is a lit...more
Read this one some time ago, but Ross Thomas is a writer I want to read more of.
Mike Harper
I have a daughter in law who accuses me of reading for self-improvement. Giving this book five stars ought to prove that I read for enjoyment, instead. Because this book has damn little in it to please an intellectual, but plenty of plot, character, action and just plain good writing. You don't have to Google this one to figure out why it's considered "great literature," because it isn't. Just great fun.
Best of the genre, and the best of Ross Thomas' many good novels.
David Wrubel
Ross Thomas was at his best writing comic mysteries with serious undertones, and his best ones featured Artie Wu and Quincy Durant and an unusual cast of characters. I believe they appeared in one or two others in addition to "Chinaman's Chance", which remains my favorite. Thomas died in 1995; the NY Times once called him the greatest storyteller in America, and that is still true 14 years after his death, yet most of his books are out of print. They are well worth finding.

Another Thomas book I...more
Not the first Artie Wu/Quincy Durant book, but it's the one that gives their life story--how they grew up and got to be the way they are--so it's very enlightening for those who are interested in these things. Also, at least for my money, it's the best of the Wu/Durant books if only because its plot is a little more straightforward than the others. Remember, though, straightforward doesn't necessarily mean credible. If it's credibility you're looking for, go read something else. But if you want...more
c1978: The original phrase was that 'one had only a Chinaman's Chance in Hell' but it gradually changed through usage into the shortened version that is used for the title of this book. It seems to have come out of the recognition of the dangerous work undertaken on the railroads in the USA. I wouldn't imagine it is very PC now. The book is a great read but it is the characters that make this book stand out. Loved it and definitely recommend this to the normal crew.""Oh why oh why can't I get it...more
Jul 13, 2007 Chris rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone with a head and a dick
Ross Thomas rewrites all the rules in this pulse-pounding, heart-thumping, brain-patting, stomach-rubbing ballbuster of a novel. You won't breathe for pages. You won't blink for chapters. And then: TWO WHOLE MINUTES UNDERWATER. This book takes you to hell and back, and if your balls get singed don't get angry, that's just Ross Thomas's way of saying "GOTCHYA!"

This website needs to be reformatted so I can give this book eighteen stars, seven sticks of dynamite, and one fat-ass nuclear warhead fil...more
It took me about 10 pages to realize that I have read this book before. I guess that's what Goodreads is supposed to protect me from! But it was a perfect book for a vacation - fast paced, full of charismatic con men, underworld bosses, complicated cops, and smooth operators. It's hard to know who's playing whom, and there are enough twists to make sure you guess wrong at least once or twice. If you can tolerate the eye-rolling misogyny that so often is part of this macho genre, you'll be in for...more
I really enjoyed this; I liked the way the 70s setting felt both familiar and strange, I liked the way the characters were multi-sided and allies were found in unexpected places, and I very much liked the way the mystery (well, not exactly a mystery) unfolded. I would be very curious to hear what people of colour think of this; it seems somewhat progressive to me in having a Chinese main character who uses racial stereotypes to his advantage, but I am sure there's tons of angles I'm missing.
A pretty solid 70s caper novel from the "men's fiction" shelf of that era. Not exactly a mystery but with more turns and twists, and lots of politics and crime and sexy ladies. If you've read a lot of 70s novels of this style and enjoyed them, you'll probably like this one a lot, but I can't recommend it for someone who isn't already into that sort of book precisely because of the 70s vibe ("Chinaman", for crying out loud).
Sam Reaves
When I need to be reminded what good, tight, laconic crime writing is, I pull a Ross Thomas off the shelf for study and enjoyment. This one features knights-errant Artie Wu and Quincy Durant, hired to find out who's pulling the strings in a corrupt Southern California town. Nobody did corruption better than Thomas, or for that matter a certain type of old-school ironic cool.
I'm a big Ross Thomas fan. Though his Wu/Durant stories (this one and Out on the Rim) are favorites of many, I find them a wee bit cutesy and ostentatiously clever, and would reach elsewhere first. YMMV. There's lots of humor, and the plots are really complex. If you like Donald Westlake, for instance, YM probably WV.
(3.75) Good read that reminds me of a Pelecanos novel with more interesting characters. In other words, it has a compelling plot that never really leaves second gear. It made me interested to try more Ross Thomas books but not anytime soon. This book really felt like getting a meal at McDonalds that meets your expectations.
Toby McMillen
Boy, I am sure enjoying this story. I am going to have to request some more stuff by this guy from the library!

Now I'm done, excellent, excellent read! If you liked Ocean's 10-12, you'll love this one. I blew off a bunch of sleep to get through the last 100 pages; this story started coming at me from 4 or 5 directions.
Chris Peters
Clever, well-paced crime novel with an excellent 1970's vibe. Several cornerstone events and trends of the 60's (e.g. Vietnam War, CIA abuse of power, organized crime, folk music)feature prominently. The heros are clever and likable, while the villains are plausible and a good challenge for the protagonists.
Well, I've finally hit a Ross Thomas that I'm NOT wild about. It's good but not great. Artie Wu and Quincy Durant are con men who carry this story. It's a little bit spy novel and a little bit mystery and sometimes kind of hard to follow but it won't stop me from picking up my next Ross Thomas.
This novel skirts along the edge of "guilty pleasure". The author skillfully enlists the reader on the side of a pair of characters who are rather dubious exemplars. The plot doesn't have bizarre twists but does keep the reader off balance and turning pages quickly to find the resolution.
I wanted to like this book and continue to read the series, but there simply wasn't enough there for me. The plot, really quite boring and not much to it, plodded along and dragged me with it. Cross this one off my list. I have too many to keep up with anyway.
Xenophon Hendrix
Sep 17, 2011 Xenophon Hendrix rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Philip Marlowe, Travis McGee, or <i>The Sting</i>
The two lead characters are half-honest confidence men. The writing is clean and has some humor. The characterization is good. The plot is complex, and the tension ratchets upward. Crime novel readers shouldn't miss this one.
Artie Wu and Quincy Durant get mixed up in the search for a missing singer, missing money supposedly buried in Vietnam, and deadly gangsters. I'll read the other two or three Ross Thomas wrote that feature Wu and Durant.
Period 70's mystery. A little dated, but very suspenseful. Twists, double twists and triple twists abound. As the story unfolded, nothing was as random as it originally seemed. A good book by a good author.
Diana Duncan
This was a great introduction to Ross Thomas. I loved the oddball characters and the plot, with all of its twists, made the book hard to put down. I'm looking forward to reading more of his works.
Nicole Marble
Wow! An Elmore Leonard-like ride through Southern California with an ex-Marine, millions hidden in Saigon, loan sharks, millionaires, actresses and Malibu. A complex plot and a wonderful mystery. A+
Top 20 favorites, this is one of the COOLESt books ever. Immagine the movie the Sting with Redford and Newman and mix it with Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels and you get the idea.
Ross Thomas was one of the country's best mystery/crime writers--and one of the least celebrated. Often compared to Raymond Chandler, Thomas was prolific in his writing. Great reads!
Old Crow
I was going through my bookshelves for the library sale and found several Ross Thomas books. They are really great reads. I wonder if they are still in print.
Wu and Durant series, and one of this writer's best. I've read all his books. I think he's great. My favorite is Seersucker Whipsaw.
Benjamin Plume
Ross Thomas weaves intrigue and humor into a seamless whole. I'm searching for all of his books I haven't read.
LOVE Ross Thomas. Always smart, politically funny, and VERY good reading.
Tm Merremont
A cult classic, and or two very good reasons: Wu and Durant.
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Ross Thomas was an American writer of crime fiction. He is best known for his witty thrillers that expose the mechanisms of professional politics. He also wrote several novels under the pseudonym Oliver Bleeck about professional go-between Philip St. Ives.

Thomas served in the Philippines during World War II. He worked as a public relations specialist, reporter, union spokesman, and political strat...more
More about Ross Thomas...
Briarpatch The Cold War Swap Out on the Rim The Fools in Town Are on Our Side The Fourth Durango

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