A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien- Feature and Review


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. . .



 Dim Sum of All Fears (A Noodle Shop Mystery #2)Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dim Sum of All Fears by Vivien Chien is a 2018 St. Martin’s Press publication.

Lana Lee returns in this second intriguing installment of the Noodle Shop Mystery Series.

Lana is left in charge of the restaurant while her parents leave to visit family. This is not exactly a responsibility she wants. Lana feels she needs and wants more from her professional life than working in the noodle shop, but now she is trapped, forced to pass on a plumb opportunity.

She is also unhappy about the slow progress of her relationship with police officer, Adam Trudeau. Is he, or isn't he her boyfriend?

However, when her friend and her new husband are found dead, in what appears to be a murder/suicide, Lana’s stress levels skyrocket. Naturally, Adam insists Lana keep away from the investigation, putting even more distance between them. However, Lana still finds herself drawn into the saga as more unusual information about the murdered couple, especially about her friend’s new husband, begins to emerge.

So far, this series has been impressive and, as far as I’m concerned, is a breath of fresh air for the cozy genre. While I often lament the lack of ‘mature’ characters in books, with cozies, the need for a younger protagonist along with the bright colorful blend of diversity, is long overdue.

Lana’s amateur detecting skills have improved, and the series shows positive signs of growth. The mystery was a little frenetic at times, but the pacing also kept me on my toes with ever changing developments, making it very difficult to pinpoint the murderer. The balance, however, is slightly skewed if you are tuning in just to solve the mystery. The personal, romantic, and family dramas were more in the forefront, this time around. In my experience, this not all that uncommon in cozies and as a series progresses the mysteries do tend to run more in the background.

Of course, I prefer more of an even balance, but it is certainly not a deal breaker. In fact, the more involved I become with the characters, the more I look forward to touching base with them again. Often, it’s that element, more than the mystery, that draws me to these stories in the first place. So, it's all good, as far as I'm concerned.

I am still quite excited about the future of this series and am very much looking forward to Lana’s next big adventure!!





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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