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No Good to Cry

Ratings:
Length: 353 pages5 hours

Summary

On a sunny afternoon in Hartford, Connecticut, PI Rick Van Lam's Vietnam-vet mentor and partner, Jimmy, and Jimmy’s old army pal, Ralph, are attacked as they walk down a city sidewalk. Ralph is killed, and Jimmy, backing up, is struck by a car. While the battered Jimmy is under the care of Rick’s landlord and friend, Gracie—where an improbable romance seems to be blooming, Rick finds himself in a quandary. He’s asked to clear the name of the two attackers named by the police. One is a boy named Simon Tran, known as Saigon, the other, Simon’s buddy, Frankie Croix.

Rick himself is a bui doi or child of dust, meaning the child of a Vietnamese mother and an American GI father. Leading a life of disdain and torment in a Ho Chi Minh City orphanage as a child, a battered Rick turned on a newly arrived child of dust, a more despised case: Mike Tran, the son of a Vietnamese mother and a black GI. He’s still ashamed of how savagely pleased he was to have Mike become the new target for mistreatment, someone the Vietnamese community viewed as even lower him.

Years later, in Hartford, Rick has to grapple with that troubling childhood memory because Simon is the son of Mike Tran. Mike is a hard-working, decent man. Despite the difficulties of being Amerasian, he embodies the American Dream—a house, a loving wife, exemplary children—students at prestigious private schools and colleges. Except for Simon, who seems hell-bent on a life of crime.

Working with Hank Nguyen, a young colleague now a state-cop-in-training, Rick tracks Simon to a Vietnamese gang in Little Saigon. How can he not strive to save Simon and Frankie—boys who refuse to be saved, and who may be facing not just murder charges but becoming victims in a vicious gangland war?

A unique investigator in a crowded field, Rick’s cases both surprise you, and wring your heart.

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