Unusually so for an S.J. Rozan novel, there’s not a whole lot about Chinese-American culture in this one.
But it’s fascinating nonetheless. Rather than Chinese-American culture, this time it’s the New York City art world that the reader learns something about. If you’re familiar with Rozan’s mystery series, you know that the majority of the books feature private investigator Lydia Chin and the rest feature her partner Bill Smith (!)—all written in the first person, even though it’s two different first persons, with two different personas.
Don’t be confused!
Unlike the mystery that preceded this one, Paper Son, we’re back in New York this time—as I’m sure you realized as soon as I revealed in the previous paragraph that you learn about the New York City art world. The primary and the secondary characters are compelling, as is the entire plot. The principal secondary character (can you say that?) is an out-of-the-mainstream artist with OCD, portrayed in a way that reminds me of Monk. Coincidence? Probably.
Anyway, although there is no particular connection with the Louise Penny book that I reviewed two days ago, both of these novels happen to be primarily about family relationships. In the case of The Art of Violence, we have Lydia and Bill (technically not a family, but…), Lydia and her mother, the featured artist and his brother, the brother and his wife… you get the idea. There is, of course, a murder mystery, and you’ll need to pay close attention to the twists and turns near the end of the story.
Although it’s not quite true that “you can’t put it down,” it comes close. I know that you want to read this! So do so.