Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sunset by SJ Rozan

Bleak House Books has come out with Hard Boiled Brooklyn, and one of the first stories I read was SJ Rozan’s Sunset Park set gambling themed “Sunset.” In it, Lucas Chen, a young, downwardly mobile Chinese American starts losing money to all the wrong people and, at the same time talking about how much his aunt’s house is worth. No amount of talk can get him out of his slide, and it is not too long before Mr. Wong has left half a shoe on the doorstep – a reminder of what part of you he’ll take if you can’t pay your debts. Will Lucas’ aunt get to keep her house? Will Lucas get to keep his toes? Will Mr. Wong be happy?

The story is told with Rozan’s fine ear for dialogue and, in particular, a fine ear for the cadences of the speech patterns of NY’s Chinese-American population. There is also a fine ear for the nuances of interrelations among the many groups that make up this population. It is the same ear that is in evidence in Rozan’s Bill and Lydia novels. If the story is representative of the collection, then I am in for some good reading.


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