Soho Press, $24.95, 218 pages, ISBN 978-1-61695-784-1
New York City’s Chinatown is the home turf of NYPD Detective Jack Yu, the beleaguered serial character created by author Henry Chang, and a personal favorite of the MBR, because the pragmatic and altruistic Chinese-American crime fighter operates in one of the most violent, superstitious, drug and gang-infested, as well as racially-prejudiced environments on planet earth without losing his personal moral compass . . . or his humanity. Jack was born and raised in Chinatown. He knows the unwritten rules: don’t talk to outsiders, we take care of our own problems and run our own community. By joining the round-eyed white devils in blue, Jack became—in his own father’s words—A jouh gow, a running dog, someone used by the white police department against his own people. “A Chinatown cop, first sign of trouble you’re the one they throw under the bus,” according to Tat “Lucky” Louie, Jack Yu’s boyhood friend, blood brother and a lifelong criminal.
Lucky, by Henry Chang is the fifth installment in his fascinating series featuring Jack Yu. This time, Jack’s trying to nurse a fading, but intense and complicated love affair when he gets word that Lucky Louie, his boyhood pal and one of the most feared dailos in all of Chinatown, has come out of his eighty-eight day coma and is calling for Jack. After being shot twice in the head driving a gangland assassination attempt, Lucky wasn’t expected to live, much less overhear his former associates plotting the divvying up of his empire. But he did. He’s not called “Lucky” for nothing, and the fact that he emerged from his coma on the eighty-eighth day . . . a double helix, and a very fortuitous number in Chinese lore . . . proves it. Now, as Lucky sets out to retake and rebuild his lost empire by robbing the tong and triad-protected businesses of his enemies, he’s got an SOS, shoot on sight, order on his head along with a $10,000 reward, while his lifelong friend, NYPD Detective Jack Yu, tries to convince him to enter the witness protection program. But Lucky’s a believer in his own good luck and it’s ability to see him through any danger. He lives by the mantra, Live big or die small. Whichever one happens, Lucky Louie will be a gamer all the way to the end. If you’re a fan of noir, the Jack Yu stories will enthrall, entertain and introduce you to a thriving community that’s like a small slice of a foreign land, smack-dab in the midst of America’s biggest city. It’s a visit you won’t forget!