5.0 out of 5 stars Kwong had to admit to himself that he didn't really mind it when she called him "Papa Kwong." August 18, 2014
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San Diego author Vic Warren was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, attended the San Francisco Academy of Art majoring in graphic design and art direction, and then worked as an advertising executive in the travel industry for 30-plus years. In support of his educational background he worked as a book packager, editor, designer and writer - creating in conjunction with illustrators more than 100 children's books. His `hobby' is traveling - Asia, Europe and the South Pacific - and it is likely his fascination with Asian countries spurred his interest in several of the novels he presents to the public. History, mystery and science fiction fill out his pallet and he is successful in all three categories.
After completing his novel HONG KONG BLUES the characters he had created called for further adventures and thus the INSPECTOR KWONG MYSTERIES of which THE RIVER is the second installment. Many of the same characters remain (thank goodness - they have become friends as well as characters) -Lawrence Kwong is the 300 pound Chief Inspector with the Hong Kong Police who sports a Harris tweed suit and a silver tipped cane and is assisted by tall and handsome 21 year old Matson Tai, fresh from University studies in both Law and Criminology. And Warren's growingly typical style he opens this rather short novel in the following manner: 'Huang Long Wei was dead. The shan chu, the dragon head, of Pearl River Triad for nearly thirty years suffered for two months after a debilitating stroke. He had celebrated his ninetieth birthday a week before he died, and thirty days ago he died in his sleep, as they say. No one really knows if he had been sleeping or lying awake, staring at the dark ceiling, when his life left him.'
And after a bit of very fascinating information about Chinese burial customs and Buddhist traditions we learn that Tam is Huang's successor -the Shan chug. And Tam had been given the orders by Huang - `'I want you to kidnap Lawrence Kwong. That fat, greasy little man has cost us too much money. I think of him and get a sour taste in my mouth. He takes the joy out of living." "Inspector Kwong? You want us to kidnap Lawrence Kwong from Hong Kong?"
"That's right. Maybe you don't have to kill him. But maybe you do. I just want him humiliated in front of all the people in Hong Kong. You know how much he cost us? Pak knows. He's White Paper Fan.'
Jump to site two and the handsome young Matson Tai is in the drawing room of judge David Booth-Pierce - who happens to be lying dead in his own blood. And of course Inspector Kwong is on the scene and through a fascinating conversation the two of them ponder the evidence and depart for Robin's Dumpling House (food always plays a major role in Warren's mysteries) where they are greeted with, `We are blessed today by the appearance of two of Hong Kong's greatest celebrities! Kwong and Tai. They make police work respectable.'
And so it goes, back and forth between the conniving of Tam re the kidnap of Kwong , the murder story of Booth-Pierce, and the new involvement of Kwong with the ex-prostitute Lan we met in THE QUARTZ (Warren provides enough backup information from the previous novel to keep us aware of all the characters). So pair the two plot lines and Warren makes them intersect with brilliance - coupled with a fine sense of humor and romance. The novel may be short but it is like a distilled essence that makes the brief read completely enjoyable. It is easy to become addicted to the skills of Vic Warren. Grady Harp, August 14
Reviewed By Michelle Stanley for Readers’ Favorite
“The dragon head of Pearl River Triad, Huang Long Wei, makes his dying request. He wants Inspector Kwong kidnapped and publicly embarrassed. The Inspector has arrested many of the Triad’s members in his fight against crime. Tam, the new dragon head, accomplishes this feat with the help of Woo, his second in command. They strip and abuse the Inspector, taking a photo of him to send to the press. This photo is seen on Facebook and Tam realizes his plan has backfired, as other Triad members have personal motives for the kidnapping. Kwong’s assistant, Matson, and his colleagues apply pressure on the Triad, and Matson puts his love life on hold.
The River by Vic Warren is the second book in the Inspector Kwong Mysteries and is an enjoyable read. The story is well written and filled with humour, a nice touch of romance, murder, and a tempting selection of Chinese dishes. Although the story is quite a short one, Vic Warren penned a clever plot with interesting characters that made The River more entertaining for me. It is an original, light-hearted mystery that can be easily read in one sitting. Vic Warren took time to create his characters and setting so I was given a tour and information on Hong Kong and China. I was also impressed with the way the author incorporated the Asian traditional customs into the story. The book cover is also nicely done and complements the story.”