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Dragonfish

Cover of Dragonfish

Dragonfish

A Novel
by Vu Tran

A thrilling work of sophisticated suspense set amid the Vietnamese underworld in Las Vegas

Robert, a rugged Oakland cop, still can't let go of Suzy, the mysterious Vietnamese wife who left him. Now she's disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who blackmails Robert into finding her for him. Pursuing Suzy through the glitzy, sleazy gambling dens of Las Vegas, Robert finds himself chasing the past that haunts Suzy—one that extends back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon. Her daughter, abandoned long ago, is now a steely professional poker player. The dangerous legacy of Suzy's guilt threatens to immolate them all, including Happy, her best friend.

Taut, cinematic storytelling, vivid dialogue, and mesmerizing atmosphere combine here with beautiful, original prose to create an unforgettable novel.

A thrilling work of sophisticated suspense set amid the Vietnamese underworld in Las Vegas

Robert, a rugged Oakland cop, still can't let go of Suzy, the mysterious Vietnamese wife who left him. Now she's disappeared from her new husband, Sonny, a violent Vietnamese smuggler and gambler who blackmails Robert into finding her for him. Pursuing Suzy through the glitzy, sleazy gambling dens of Las Vegas, Robert finds himself chasing the past that haunts Suzy—one that extends back to a refugee camp in Malaysia after the fall of Saigon. Her daughter, abandoned long ago, is now a steely professional poker player. The dangerous legacy of Suzy's guilt threatens to immolate them all, including Happy, her best friend.

Taut, cinematic storytelling, vivid dialogue, and mesmerizing atmosphere combine here with beautiful, original prose to create an unforgettable novel.

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Awards-
About the Author-
  • Vu Tran is the winner of a Whiting Award recognizing "exceptional talent and promise" and teaches creative writing at the University of Chicago.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from June 8, 2015
    Tran’s thriller debut revolves around an elusive woman who seems lost in her own private—and haunted—world. Robert Ruen is an Oakland, Calif., police officer whose Vietnamese ex-wife, Suzy, has remarried a shady Las Vegan gambler named Sonny Van Nguyen, a figure with whom she shares a distant past. When Suzy disappears, Ruen is strong-armed by Sonny’s son, Junior, to help track down the woman Ruen never really knew. His search transpires in a wonderfully noirish Las Vegas, including second-tier casinos and strip-mall restaurants concealing underground aquariums stocked with illegal and exotic creatures—the titular dragonfish among them. Interspersed with Ruen’s quest is Suzy’s own first-person narrative about fleeing with her daughter war-torn Vietnam by boat for a Malaysian refugee camp. These long sections, addressed to the daughter she abandoned upon reaching the States, occasionally interrupt the novel’s momentum. However, they also feature the strongest writing and elegantly reveal the roots of Suzy’s mercurial behavior: “Everything that has happened since seems a shadow of what happened there.” This is a most enjoyable mystery, from its distinct, dazzling premise all the way to its satisfying conclusion.

  • AudioFile Magazine Narrator Tom Taylorson's deep, sombre voice suits this gritty story, which wends from Las Vegas to Vietnam, then Malaysia, and back to the U.S. Robert Ruen is the standard jaded cop at the center of this noir. His past keeps coming back to haunt him. Suzy, his missing Vietnamese ex-wife, must be found, for her sake as well as his. Taylorson switches believably between the American main character and the supporting cast of Vietnamese hit men. His renditions of accented English add to the ambiance of non-native speakers, which is essential to these characters. Through his precise, insistent pace, the listener is drawn into the danger, shifting settings, and multicultural history at the heart of the story. M.R. © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Dragonfish
Dragonfish
A Novel
Vu Tran
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