Underkill (2003) and Over the Shoulder

FADE TO CLEAR: An Allen Choice Novel

Leonard Chang, Author . St. Martin's Minotaur/Dunne $23.95 (322p) ISBN 978-0-312-30845-2

In Chang's third Allen Choice novel, the brooding, self-doubting Korean-American PI of Underkill (2003) and Over the Shoulder (2001) has found a new maturity that makes this outing the most satisfying yet. Now a full partner at B&C Investigations, Choice is contemplating moving out of his lonely San Francisco bachelor apartment and in with steady girlfriend Serena Yew, a Silicon Valley computer programmer who was introduced in Underkill . He may even be ready to meet Serena's parents, though he fears their disapproval since he's not as connected to his Korean roots as Serena is to hers. Then his ex-girlfriend Linda Maldonado asks Choice to find her missing niece, who's been abducted by her father, and to be prepared to use less-than-legal means to do so. What Linda doesn't reveal to him are the darker secrets surrounding the divorce of the niece's parents, or the dismal fate that has met the previous detective on the case. When faced with the dilemma of either solving the mystery or preserving his new romance, Choice doesn't disappoint. With a spare, literary style that suits his reticent protagonist, Chang paints a quietly affectionate picture of Choice, his relationships and the Bay Area, while also delivering the thrilling twists and tragedies of classic noir fiction. Agents, Nat Sobel and Judith Weber. (May 12)

Reviewed on: 03/29/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
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