by Michele Hogan

An elevated mystery/thriller in the vein of “The Ghost Writer” and the classic “Witness”.

A Chinatown attorney who takes on the seemingly routine case of a young refugee smuggled into New York finds herself and her teenaged son embroiled in a deadly international art-theft conspiracy.

Jorie Evans, a corporate attorney and single mother, has quit her job and opened a storefront office in New York’s Chinatown as penance for a pro bono case in which she betrayed a client who was then deported to China and killed. In her first case in the new office, she successfully frees 15-year-old Lu An, the sole survivor of a boat carrying illegal immigrants which sank off Coney Island. Moments later, she witnesses the girl’s narrow escape from Chinese gangsters lying in wait for her and the brutal murder of the girl’s grandmother. When Lu An appears at her door late that night, distraught and injured, Jorie takes her in.

Jorie and her best friend, Truman Joe, a bumbling, late-blooming reporter who has long been in love with her, investigate the ship, which is rumored to have been carrying the Jade Taotie, a stolen Chinese national treasure, to a private New York buyer. A sculpture of a monstrous head, the taotie is a Bronze Age warning against insatiable greed. Jorie begins to suspect that the secretive Lu An, as the sole survivor of the ship, may know the taotie’s whereabouts. And when Jorie falls for wealthy art dealer and political hopeful Jace Edwards, she reverts to old patterns and betrays Lu An to him. The discovery that Jace, along with many of New York’s most powerful people, is implicated in the theft puts all their lives in danger.

Praise: Emmeline Yang, a producer with Anonymous Content, called it “well-written and an enjoyable read”.

Jade Taotie