LITTLE SAIGON (1988)
In the aftermath of the war in Vietnam, thousands of desperate refugees fled the killing fields for new lives in Southern California. But for those who settled in "Little Saigon," the war never really ended. The latest victim of the continuing struggle is Li Frye, a popular singer whose songs of hope and home have made her a heroine to her people. Ripped from the stage by masked gunmen, she has vanished into the dark alleys of Little Saigon, where outsiders are met with suspicion and a stony silence as impenetrable as the steaming jungles of Vietnam.
Local surfing legend turned reporter Chuck Frye knows what it means to be an outsider. He's the black sheep of his wealthy family, but Li is his sister-in-law, and he cannot sit back and let them or the clueless police investigate the case alone. What Chuck cannot know is that he stands at the edge of a swirling vortex of corruption and violence that reaches to the highest levels of the United States intelligence community. As he comes closer to the truth, he draws nearer to a terrible secret that many would kill to keep.
Read an excerpt.
Jeff Parker on LITTLE SAIGON
I got the idea for this book standing in a liquor store one day. The guy in line in front of me was an American Vietnam War vet. The clerk was a young Vietnamese woman. I got to wondering: could their paths have crossed before? Could he have fought with her father in Vietnam? Could he have fought against him? Could they have actually met? So I eavesdropped on the transaction in this liquor store in Costa Mesa, California, and this is what happened. He stepped up to the counter. Before he said anything, she took out a pack of Lucky Strikes and set them in front of him. He looked at her, and after a moment of silence, said, "How did you know that's what I wanted?" She looked at him and said, "Some things, I just know." Well, for a novelist, that's a loaded moment. I knew right then that my second book would be about that war and the soliders who came home and the Vietnamese refugees in California. It was an enjoyable book to write. It's the only one of my books with a strong comic undertone, even though it's a serious story.
St. Martin's US hardcover Sept 1988 ISBN 5552399838
St. Martin's US mass-market paperback July 1989 ISBN 0312915934
W.H. Allen UK hardcover Sept 1989 ISBN 049103489X
Virgin Books UK paperback Sept 1989 ISBN 0352325313
Random House audio cassette Sept 1989 ISBN 0394578449
Memorable...further proof that [Parker's] no flash in the pan, but a glowing fixture in the thriller firmament.
A tense thriller that builds to an astonishing payoff!
Parker writes prose so hard-boiled he might have inherited Raymond Chandler's saucepan.
I learned more about (Orange County) from Little Saigon than reading any newspaper or magazine."
Exotic...surprises turn up every five minutes.
New York Daily News
Thoroughly satisfying...tension that builds wave on wave to a crashing climax!
Pulse-quickening and thought-provoking...with his second novel, T. Jefferson Parker confirms the talent demonstrated in his first.
San Diego Union
His plotting and pacing are now essentially faultless.
A lesson in the seamless splicing of suspense and terror.
[Parker] is a potent and irresistible writer.
Los Angeles Times