Henry Chang made an auspicious debut in 2007 with his first novel, the excellent Chinatown Beat. Now he follows it up with an impressive sequel, a sharply drawn and taut tell of life and crime in New York City's Chinatown.
The focal character of Year of the Dog is once again Jack Yu, a detective with the NYPD. He follows a series of cases that take him from place to place in the Chinese-American community. His investigations represent only one thread of the plot, however, as Chang also explores the story of a young gangbanger on the make and an elderly bookie on his last legs.
Chang's canvas is broader than a story of cops and cons. He evokes the intricate social structure of Chinese-American life in both vibrant colors and dusky hues. Like George Pelecanos, he takes his story to the streets and writes with the knowledge and insight of one who's been there.
From the Chicago Sun-Times, December 7, 2008