2 Aug 2012



Grandfather Gao is one of the most respected, some would say feared, men in China Town. When he asks for a favour, refusal is not an option. which is how Lydia Chin and Bill Smith find themselves heading to Hong Kong to deliver the ashes of his oldest friend to his grandson.

On arrival in the city, they find a young boy and his nanny have been kidnapped. And, far from wanting the two detectives to help, the family close ranks. but then two separate ransom demands arrive .....
...... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Damp, soupy heat washed over me as I pushed out through the revolving door.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 132): Behind us the neon crowning the office towers blurred into softly glowing halos of colour floating in the misty night sky. Ahead, the lights of Kowloon shone from the streetlamps and windows much more earthbound than the soaring structures on the Hong Kong side.

MY THOUGHTS: First published in 2001 this is the 4th outing for Lydia Chin and Bill Smith and though it worked well as a stand-alone novel I do think I may have benefited from reading the previous books. 

At just short of 370 pages and with much emphasis placed on conversation; Blood Rites could certainly have been a shorter and just as enjoyable a read if it weren't for the author's obsession with informing us of both the characters English and Chinese names and whether or not their language of choice was English or Cantonese - an important and relevant distinction on occasion but not always, it quickly became irritating.  

Fast paced, atmospheric and with twists and turns aplenty this was an average enough thriller but for me, it was the author's ability to bring Hong Kong to life combined with the portrayal of Lydia, seemingly at odds with both the Western culture of her upbringing and the Eastern heritage of her ancestry, that brought the novel to life. 

DISCLAIMER: Read and reviewed on behalf of NEWBOOKS magazine I was merely asked for my honest opinion, no financial compensation was asked for nor given.  

NB This was originally released in America as Reflecting the Sky.


Mary (Bookfan) said...

The first sentence describes our summer weather! I like to read a series in order so I'm not sure I'd want to jump in at book 4. But readers who love thrillers probably wouldn't mind so much.

GMR said...

That first sentence.....describes the weather here PERFECTLY. *-* (...and apparantly that of Bookfan before me..hehe) Doubtful this will make my list, but glad you enjoyed it just the same. Happy reading!

DMS said...

I like to read books in order, when I can. But, it is good to know that this book could stand alone, if necessary. It sounds like the author does a great job developing the characters and the setting.

naida said...

Sounds interesting but I dislike it when I feel like the book could have been shorter.
Nice review!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I'm glad the irritating bits didn't hinder your enjoyment in the whole. I also like that first sentence.

Claudine G. said...

Novels with multicultural/multilingual backgrounds are good, solid reads. Hongkong is a fascinating place, rather similar to Singapore in terms of mixed cultures. I understand what you mean by the explanatory irritations, sometimes I'm quite annoyed by those, too. Which is why when I come across novels that allow two cultures and two languages to flow like a river, those are the ones I'd keep in mind for a long, long time.

carol said...

I read the first in this series, but haven't gotten any further yet. I do like Lydia and Bill for the most part.