A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Death By Dumpling by Vivien Chien - Feature and Review


Welcome to the Ho-Lee Noodle House, where the Chinese food is to die for. . .

The last place Lana Lee thought she would ever end up is back at her family’s restaurant. But after a brutal break-up and a dramatic workplace walk-out, she figures that a return to the Cleveland area to help wait tables is her best option for putting her life back together. Even if that means having to put up with her mother, who is dead-set on finding her a husband.

Lana’s love life soon becomes yesterday’s news once the restaurant’s property manager, Mr. Feng, turns up dead―after a delivery of shrimp dumplings from Ho-Lee. But how could this have happened when everyone on staff knew about Mr. Feng’s severe, life-threatening shellfish allergy? Now, with the whole restaurant under suspicion for murder and the local media in a feeding frenzy―to say nothing of the gorgeous police detective who keeps turning up for take-out―it’s up to Lana to find out who is behind Feng’s killer order. . . before her own number is up.



Death by Dumpling (Noodle Shop Mystery #1)Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Death by Dumpling by Vivien Chien is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Brilliant beginning for this new cozy mystery series!!

I kept hearing about this book and was desperate to try it out, but my local library did not have a copy. But, thankfully, my non-resident Overdrive library sponsor accepted my recommendation of this book and I profusely thank them for buying a copy.

Was it worth the wait and extra effort I had to go through in order to read it? Absolutely!! This is one of the best debut cozies I’ve read in a long time.

When Lana Lee experiences a brutal breakup and then loses her job in quick succession, she returns home to lick her wounds and regroup. She works in her parent’s restaurant, and maybe enjoys it more than she wants to admit, even if she has to put up with her mother’s constant nagging about finding a husband.

Yet life turns on a dime, yet again, for Lana when the restaurant’s property owner dies from anaphylactic shock after consuming shrimp dumplings cooked at “The Noodle Shop” and hand delivered by Lana herself. When the cook is arrested, and Lana is on the hot seat with the local authorities, she realizes that unless she discovers the truth about Mr. Feng’s death, an innocent man could go to prison.

Cozy fans are going to love Lana Lee! Her self-deprecating humor is contagious, and the entire cast and crew is stellar. Sometimes, well, most of the time, cozy mysteries are light in tone, even in the midst of a murder investigation. As such, the plots aren’t often incredibly complex, nor do they dig too deeply underneath the surface, with most villains guilty of the usual crimes with the usual motives. But, this story has a strong cultural and family drama which examines family dynamics and the consequences of ill -fated decisions, keeping secrets, and greed.

Often a debut cozy will lose momentum by spending too much time on character introduction or on the location, than on the mystery, which causes the story to lose momentum and flounder. But, in this case, the author wowed me with her ability to introduce the main cast, tell a very engaging mystery, and set the stage for future installments without the slightest hesitation. There was no timidity, no imbalances!

The characters did their thing, and the story flowed very well as a result. The only drawback is that I now have a craving for noodles and the author has left me drumming my fingers impatiently awaiting book two!!

Great story, with real authenticity!





Vivien Chien first started writing simple stories about adventures with her classmates when she was in elementary school. As she grew up, her love of books and the written word increased, leading to the attempt of her first novel at age 16. After many struggled beginnings and several different genres, she found her passion in the mystery world.

When she’s not writing, she can be found frolicking in the bookstore or searching for her next bowl of noodles. She has a soft spot for doughnuts, a healthy love for coffee, and an extreme need to participate in random acts of crafting.

She currently lives in Cleveland where she is hard at work on the third book in her Noodle Shop series and writes side-by-side with her toy fox terrier.

Visit her at www.vivienchien.com

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