||Jan 1 2001
A new amateur sleuth, Bridg O'Hern, debuts. She uses grits and smarts to help the police.
Barnes & Noble.com
When a Seattle Cambdooian refugee couple are shot and killed in their apartment, the Khmer community whispers that their deaths were caused by bad karma. Bridget (Bridg) O'Hern believes the couple's deaths are rooted in the horrors of the Khmer Rouge years. Bridg is assigned as a liaison between the community and the police investiating the homicides. Little does she know when she signs on to help that she, too, may be targeted for murder--or worse.
"Harrington has worked for years on behalf of the Cambodian transplants . . . her knowledge lends an exotic overlay to her well-paced and compelling debut novel."
-G. Miki Hayden, author, Pacific Empier and By Reason of Insanity
DEATH STALKS THE KHMER
Clshing cultures come together in Pat Harrington's Death Stalks the Khmer (ISBN: 1-58851-350-5; AmErica House, 2001)to create a compelling read both intriguing and entertaining.
Assigned to the role of liaison between the Seabell Police Deparmtent and the Southest Asian Assistance Agency, character Bridget O'Hern serves as a "cultural tour guide" to police detective jack Patrewski as the two work with groups of people distrustful of government agencies. Viewed as a helpful outsider by some and an unwelcomed intruder by others, O'Hern is forced to choose between personal safety and her desire to see justice done as she and Detective Patrewski discover a motive for murder steeped in the history of Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge.
Harrington's novel is more than a simple work of fiction, it's a sweeping landscape portrait of the process of assimiliation framed by murder. Middle aged Americans will remember heart wrenching scnes from the Killing Fields and the story of Loung Ung, First They Killed My Father, while reading this unusually sensitive and insightful work of fiction.
Death Stalks the Khmer is a reminder that in the case of the Khmer Rouge, Lady Justice has remained blind far too long.
DEATH STALKS THE KHMER
In Seabell, Washington, lives a large, segregated by their own choices, Cambodian population. Most of the refuges fled their homeland to escape the brutality of the Khmer Rouge reign of Pol Pot. The populace adheres to the culture that Pol Pot tried to systematically exterminate while acclimating to the American way of life. However, many still struggle with flashbacks from the trauma and refuse to believe that the local police want to help them acclimate not abuse them.
When someone kills Hahn Lys and his wife, the Southeast Asian Assistance Agency assigns Bridget O'Hern to serve as a liaison between the Cambodian community and the investigating officials. Because Hahn was Khmer Rouge, he had many enemies and his work for SEAAA did not ease hard feelings towards him. At the same time Hahn had business dealings with powerful Royalists. This contradiction makes Bridget wonder which side wanted Hahn dead and why?
The Cambodian immigration is fascinating to watch as the group struggles with preserving a rich heritage while adopting to their new homeland. Like many immigrants before them, the second generation wants to be All-American, feeling less tied to the old ways. Patricia Harrington writes an intelligent social commentary wrapped inside a clever ethnic mystery with solid characters to support the entire detailed story line. DEATH STALKS THE KHMER is an awesome amateur sleuth story that succeeds in entertaining and educating the reader.
Reprinted with permission from Books 'n' Bytes
Death Stalks the Khmer
Reviewed by Julie Wray Herman of Houston, TX,
author of the Three Dirty Women landscaping mystery series
Having survived the cruelty of the Khmer Rouge times, it was especially cruel
that Hahn Ly and his wife should become the victims of murder in their new
home. Their co-worker, Bridget O'Hern, is thrust into a difficult position.
As someone with experience working with the Cambodian community in
Seattle, she has been asked to help the police with their investigation. Yet
as a non-Asian herself, she is still an outsider. She has been brought in to
balance a man named Sang, a powerful member of the community, who is
also helping the police with their investigation. The case is in the capable
hands of likable police detective, Jack Patrewski.
Asian gangs, family dynamics, and foreign political positions affect the
progress of this case. Along the way, the reader is given a glimpse into the
transplanted Cambodian community. Wrested from their homeland by violence and
deposited on the Puget Sound shores, this books reveals a very different
American community than one most of us are exposed to. Names are different,
customs are different, even motivations are unfamiliar. Bridget gives the
readers an anchor to hold onto while they navigate this book. Armchair travel
is one of my favorite kinds of reads. In KHMER, Harrington gives us the
opportunity to experience the thrill of the foreign among the familiar.
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Reader Reviews for "Death Stalks the Khmer"
|Reviewed by tavy