Skeleton Women

Mingmei Yip. Kensington, $15 trade paper (358p) ISBN 978-0-7582-7353-6
Yip (Peach Blossom Pavilion) introduces 19-year-old nightclub chanteuse Camilla, plucked from an orphanage by a Shanghai mob boss and trained as a spy to take down his rival, Master Lung of the Flying Dragons. While the prose tends to be overwritten (“Gently, he lifted me onto the sink, spread my legs like scissors, and slid his ballooning ‘fish’ inside my watery gate”), and sloppily repetitive, her excessive approach to plot makes this entertaining. Camilla sleeps with the repulsive, murderous Master Lung, but is unconvincingly drawn to his Harvard-educated son, Jinying, who shuns both his law degree and his doting dad’s shady business. Meanwhile, Camilla repeatedly tries to get the goods on a potential romantic and career rival, a magician called Shadow, while trying to stay in the good graces of the powerful gossip columnist Rainbow, all of which paints Camilla as a lousy spy. Despite the Art of War quotes or how often she emphasizes that she’s cold enough to strangle a newborn, it takes Camilla an awfully long time to do anything mission related. Verisimilitude is not a strength of this book, though thankfully, diversion is. Agent: Susan Crawford. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/23/2012
Release date: 06/01/2012
Genre: Fiction
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