cover image A Bitter Feast

A Bitter Feast

S. J. Rozan. Minotaur Books, $15.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-312-19259-4

While lots of amazing events happen in Rozan's fifth book in her superlative Lydia Chin/Bill Smith series, none surprises more than the moment when Lydia's mother actually admits that she approves of the way her daughter does her job. Mrs. Chin has always hated that her daughter's work as a PI puts her in danger and bad company, namely that of men, like Bill, who don't make suitable husbands. But when Lydia refuses to knuckle under to the demands of a Chinatown patriarch, her mother astonishes her by praising her ""professional manner""--and then gives her a clue that helps her unravel a mystery involving the smuggling of people and drugs. Since Bill took center stage in the Shamus Award-winning Rozan's last book, No Colder Place (1997), this time it's Lydia's turn in the spotlight. Working undercover as a dim sum waitress at the Dragon Garden, where four illegal aliens have disappeared, Lydia calls upon her deep roots in New York's Chinatown to note and comment on subtle changes in the power structure as new Fukienese-speaking immigrants replace the old Cantonese. She and Bill also move their personal relationship forward a notch and consume vast amounts of wonderful food--Chinese, Jewish, even a homemade meatloaf--in a story that manages to satisify all the senses. (Sept.)