Beijing Payback

Ecco: HarperCollins. Jul. 2019. 320p. ISBN 9780062886644. $26.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062886668. THRILLER
DEBUT Victor Li is a 22-year-old California student and a fervid basketball player. His Chinese father, owner of four successful restaurants, has been killed in his office, leaving Victor a letter that turns his life upside down. Vincent Li had been living a lie. He was one of a brotherhood of four in China involved in shady dealings. They had sent him to America to extend their business. When he refused a project called ICE, one supported him, but the other two arranged his death. Victor, accompanied by new friend Sun, his father’s protégé and bodyguard, goes to China seeking answers and revenge. He finds danger and unexpected allies and learns the truth about his father and the killer. First-time novelist Nieh is a Chinese-English translator and widely traveled, and his Beijing scenes are gritty and scary. Some plot elements may leave readers confused, but the narrative moves briskly and the characters are well developed.
VERDICT This late-coming-of-age thriller, in which Victor learns just what he is capable of doing, grabs readers early and doesn’t readily let go. [See Prepub Alert, 1/23/19.]
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