The Heaven Stone

David Daniel, Author St. Martin's Press $20.95 (244p) ISBN 978-0-312-11282-0
This flavorful first novel introduces Alex Rasmussen, a likable wisecracking PI in Lowell, Mass., whose Cambodian population is the second largest in the U.S. Alex, who lives to redeem his lost honor (he was framed as a cop), is hired by Ada Chan Stewart, a Chinese-American social worker, to solve the murder of Bhuntan Tran, a survivor of the Cambodian killing fields, in whose house the police found a half-gram of cocaine. During the hunt, Alex learns a great deal about jade, the ``stone of heaven.'' He discovers that Tran was one of seven Cambodian refugees executed Khmer Rouge-style in U.S. cities in the past 12 months. The story, which takes place in July, ends with a smashing surprise after a piece of tinsel leads Alex to an abandoned textile mill where Christmas ornaments are stored. The book won the annual St. Martin's Press/PWA Best First Private Eye Novel contest. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/31/2000
Release date: 02/01/2000
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