Earlier this year I got in on the ground floor of this sweet and sour mystery series and I loved it. The Noodle Shop Mysteries offer something on the exotic side when it comes to cozy mysteries as they have a distinct Asian flare—-if you couldn’t tell from the title!
What I love about Chien’s writing style is that she is to the point and brisk but not so brisk that she’s impersonal. This was just the light murder mystery that I needed as the summer days become shorter.
Welcome back to Ho-Lee Noodle House, where you can get fantastic take-out. . .unless you get taken out first.
Lana Lee is a dutiful daughter, waiting tables at her family’s Chinese restaurant even though she’d rather be doing just about anything else. Then, just when she has a chance for a “real” job, her parents take off to Taiwan, leaving Lana in charge. Surprising everyone―including herself―she turns out to be quite capable of running the place. Unfortunately, the newlyweds who just opened the souvenir store next door to Ho-Lee have turned up dead. . .and soon Lana finds herself in the midst of an Asia Village mystery.
Between running the Ho-Lee and trying to figure out whether the rock-solid Detective Adam Trudeau is actually her boyfriend, Lana knows she shouldn’t pry into the case. But the more she learns about the dead husband, his ex-wives, and all the murky details of the couple’s past, the more Lana thinks that this so-called murder/suicide is a straight-up order of murder (summary from Goodreads).
Obviously this is the second in a series and there are references/spoilers about book one in this latest installment. If that bothers you, read the first book, it was a solid opener and read quickly. If you don’t care about spoiling the first book then read this one, you won’t be lost in the subplots because Chien does a great job orientating her readers in the plot and introducing them to the characters.
I read this book easily in a day. It was light reading and the mystery kept me interested and I loved seeing the different angles and possibilities in this plot. I love Lana as a protagonist. She’s smart, sassy, and I love that her life is basically falling apart in various ways but yet she preservers and keeps on keeping on. I love her and I love how she goes about solving cases.
What I don’t love is the romance between her and Adam. I feel like Adam is indifferent to her and I am just not in love with his character. To be honest, I feel more chemistry between Lana and Ian. Adam just seems to absorbed in his own world, bland, and he doesn’t interact with Lana enough in the story to justify anything other than a basic friendship/budding romance. I get it, their romance is in fact budding, but unless they have some serious time and interaction in the next book, in my opinion Lana needs to move on. I am just not buying them as a couple.
As with the first book, I love the Asian angle of this book. I think it brings a unique niche to a genre saturated with quaint English villages and crumpets. While the culture isn’t the focus of the book, I love how seamlessly it’s woven into the plot. I was craving Chinese food throughout this novel as well…again food isn’t the focus of this book but it plays a large roll and I love it!
This book still hit a solid four stars from me, I just wish the romance had progressed or heated up a little or just went in a new direction all together. I am eager to see what happens to Lana in the next book, hurry up March 2019!
- Kindle edition 320 pages
- Expected publication: August 28th 2018 by St. Martin’s Press
- Review copy provided by: publisher/author in exchange for an honest review, all opinions are my own
Recommendation: 4 out of 5
Genre: Mystery, cozy mystery, detective novel