Michelle Kung
May 21, 2004 AT 04:00 AM EDT

In his third thriller featuring Kierkegaard-reading Korean-American PI Allen Choice, Chang nimbly combines issues of racial alienation with noir style. Startled by his sleuthing partner’s sudden decision to quit, Choice reluctantly agrees to help an old flame find her kidnapped niece, much to the chagrin of his current girlfriend and her traditional parents. Choice confronts not only his possibly duplicitous partner and a child abductor’s crazed family but also his identity as an Americanized Asian male eking out a living in San Francisco. While the outcome is never in doubt, Chang’s taut, suspenseful storytelling, as well as his atmospheric use of the Bay Area, makes this an engrossing caper.

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