Wednesday, September 14, 2011

"Let your heart guide you. It whispers, so listen closely." The Land Before Time


In Cape Cod, Michael Decastro, former public defender and current fisherman, gets a message from Tran, Tuki Aparacio's half-brother, that she's in Ho Chi Minh City and in trouble.

The reader learns of Tuki Aparacio, the daughter of a black American soldier and Vietnamese woman, who is attractive with her dark skin and Vietnamese looks. She's a nightclub singer. In addition, she is worried that The Dragon Lady is looking for her and the Hart of Warriors, a ruby worth millions, that Tuki is in possession of.

I began this book anticipating a suspenseful thriller but found that the cardboard characters had no appeal to me.

It is obvious that the author spent a great deal of time and labor to write the story in so much detail but much of the action defied logic and moved around too much with action going from Cape Cod, to Saigon, to North Vietnam and then to the mountains of Vietnam.

In my questioning of the action, the protagonist, Michael Decastro, had just been jailed in Cape Cod, for a possible suicide attempt while drinking too much. He drops everything, and travels to Vietnam.

Michael asks his father to join him. His father, Caesar Decastro, served in Vietnam as an MP. Against all odds, forty years after the war, he finds and reconnects with the bar girl he lived with while in Vietnam. What is more, she still loves him.

I also found it difficult to see the young Tuki in possession of a ruby worth millions while she has very little in other assets.

Told in the third person, it was difficult to get a feel for the character's motivation and to know what was in their hearts.

Lastly, I found the antagonist, The Dragon Lady to be too unpredictable. At times she would be tender toward Tuki but then she would strike out against her or do something to Tuki's brother. How she came into all the information about Michael's movements while in Vietnam was also not well enough explained to me.

Conceptually, the idea of a woman from Vietnam falling in love with a man in Cape Cod and needing his help could be of interest but other details of the story when added together made the story less than it could have been.

2 stars moving up to 2 1/2.

4 comments:

Dana said...

Great review and I love the blog. Couldn't figure out how to follow, though.

mike draper said...

Hi Dana'
There's a section on the top of the blog that you click onto and it leads you through the 'follow' process.
Mike

Best O' Books said...

Most of the books you review are great, so the odds are there is going to be one that turns up occasionally as a clunker. Thanks for the tip. By the way, I mentioned your blog in a post that goes out to all the BBAW folks, so you might see a lot more new visitors coming through! Rae

mike draper said...

Rae,
Thanks so much. I appreciate your blogging friendship and your mentioning my blog.
mike

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