Kathy's Reviews > Mandarin Plaid

Mandarin Plaid by S.J. Rozan
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Jan 03, 2012

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bookshelves: mystery, detective-bounty-hunter, strong-women
Read from January 27 to 28, 2012

** spoiler alert ** This story is told from Lydia's point of view. and the story of families, mostly dysfunctional families, of chinese families.

Going backwards... John Ryan, only son of a rich, controlling, vindictive mother, and John is lazy, unfocused, a disappointment to his mother... but he has fallen in love, with Genna Jing. On the positive side, he devotes himself to Genna's success, and proves he can be effective... on the negative side, his mother does not want grandchildren from a chinese woman, and is doing everything she can to end the romance. She figures if Genna fails, her son will be bored and leave her, so she buys off and sabatoges Genna's efforts to put together a show of her designs. John ends up spending most of his time trying to counteract his mother's sabatoge. and when Roland Lum, who owns a chinese clothing sweat shop, is paid off by mom to say no to her clothes line, Roland and John come up with a scheme to get money from John's mother - but it keeps backfiring... some of Jenna's sketches are stolen (by John & Roland), she hires Lydia to drop off $50,000 to get them back - but once money is dropped off, Roland (unknown to John) shoots at Lydia, and another gal takes the money... then for the next drop off, John is the one to go to the dropoff (part of the plan) and then Roland would contact Genna to get a million dollars from his mother for John's safe return... but unplanned, Roland wants all of the money, and plans on killing John once he has it... Genna gets Lydia to go withher to John's mother, who agrees to the money if she signs an agreement not to see John ever again, which she does. Lydia takes the money, John finally realizes Roland's true intent - Bill (with Genna's sister) get there in time to save Lydia & John, but Roland is shot (by Genna's sister)... John leaves Genna, telling her to keep the money and be a success.

Lydia takes on different characters (both in person, and over the phone) in her quest to locate people and information - a french perfume secretary, a recent chinese immigrant an up and coming model, an INS agent...

Families - John and his mother yikes! Genna and her sister, Dawn Jing aka Pearl Moon. both raised well to do, college, finishing school - but Dawn moves into high paying/class prostitution when modeling fails - yet she wants to help Genna, and she does so through John (whom Genna doesn't realize that John knows) - providing money to John to give to Genna. and Genna wants to protect Dawn, giving Lydia a red herring about who she thinks may have taken her drawings, to draw suspicion away from her sister. and Lydia and her brother... 3rd brother, Andrew, is most accepting of Lydia and her career choice - he is gay (though not to his mother) - but when he realizes by refering Genna to Lydia, he has put Lydia in danger, he tries to get her to drop it - and it takes a bit for Lydia to realize that he does it because he cares for her and is worried for her - not just male , chinese chauvenism. And Lydia and her mother - what a pair - Lydia is allowed to stay with her mom, on the surface because she is single, but in fact to take care of her until her mom decides that it's time for her to move in with one of the brothers... her mother worked in a sewing sweat shop, and through her hard work, cared for her family - and now allows the brothers to take care of her (money wise)... she pushes Lydia into dating Roland Lum (a school friend of one of the brothers, who 'runs' into Lydia)... and when all is said and done, and she tells her mother that Roland was an extortionist and murderer, her mother blames her - he is a man of ideas, and if Lydia and been in his life from the beginning, she would have helped him to make better decisions (Lydia is amazed mom can turn it around to be Lydia's fault)... instead of asking Lydia to stop for certain vegetalbes for dinner, when Lydia asks, mom says somthing along the lines that if Lydia wants bok choy with dinner - which Lydia knows means her mom wants it, so stop and get some.

and Bill and Lydia - Bill makes a few light passes towards Lydia - and Lydia does accept a few kisses from him this time... but she feels their cultures would not mix, and ultimately she would loose a friend and partner if she were to pursue a more intimate relationship... and at the end, after Lydia gives John a speech about women wanting Clark Kent, not superman... Bill tells her he's getting white shirts and ties and glasses, and will perfect his clark Kent with others, and then spring it on her - and she initiates a kiss with him, but 1st whispers in his ear that it wouldn't work, because she already knows he's superman... ahhhhh
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