cover image All That’s Left Unsaid

All That’s Left Unsaid

Tracey Lien. Morrow, $27.99 (304p) ISBN 978-0-06-322773-6

Set in 1996, Lien’s insightful, emotional debut intelligently incorporates cultural concerns into a tightly focused mystery. Journalist Ky Tran has just launched her career as a newspaper reporter when she returns home to her Vietnamese community of Cabramatta, Australia, for the funeral of her popular 17-year-old brother, Denny, who was beaten to death at the Lucky 8 restaurant on the night of his high school graduation. Since Ky’s grief-stricken parents, who speak limited English, are incapable of pushing for answers, and the police are stymied because none of the dozens of bystanders at the Lucky 8, some family friends, will admit to witnessing Denny’s murder, she decides to investigate herself. Ky must maneuver around her parents’ traditional ways, fear of white people, and superstitions rooted in their Vietnamese culture. The 100% white police force is, at best, indifferent as the Sydney suburb of Cabramatta is a refugee enclave with the worst heroin epidemic in Australian history and where violent crime is the norm. Lien skillfully blends xenophobia and the Vietnamese residents’ suspicions of outsiders into a scintillating plot. Readers will eagerly await Lien’s next. Agent: Hillary Jacobson, ICM Partners. (Sept.)