Full disclosure – I was provided an advanced reader’s copy of this book by the author or their representative but have voluntarily provided a review.
The Maltese Falcon meets The Amazing Race
What does a retired police officer turned private detective, a divorce lawyer and a parolee have in common? They are about to go on an adventure of a lifetime across the globe and back through history. Hired to find a priceless Chinese artifact dating back to the Ming dynasty, Clive Allan cannot believe his luck. This very jadeite tablet has been a source of intrigue to the detective for years and being offered the opportunity to finally locate this mythical piece seems like a dream come true. Clive, Salvador, and Mackenzie jet off to Beijing, where they are joined by the beautiful and mysterious Wei Wei and they set out to unravel the clues that will eventually reveal the location of the tablet. Clive and his team are not the only people looking for the jadeite tablet, however, and they are dogged at every stop on their quest as their pursuers try to locate the prize first. Clive and company are racing against time and other elements to collect their prize and return to the States before they land themselves in a Chinese jail cell for their troubles.
The Color of Jadeite is a novel written by Eric D. Goodman and for me this was a really fun read. On the surface, Goodman has crafted a witty thriller reminiscent of the old Noir movies of the 30s and 40s (complete with a clever nod to Casablanca in the opening chapters) but he did not stop there. With the foundation firmly laid, Goodman then layered in an exotic locale as mysterious as it is familiar. As the companions track down each new clue, traveling to several different locales in China, the riddles themselves practically amount to mini-history lessons. I have always been drawn to Asian cultures, art, and history, but have never had the time to learn in-depth about China, her people, or the various points of interest. I quickly found myself Googling everything from the car make, to skyscraper names, transportation methods, and more while making my way through the book which only served to make an already good story truly vibrant as my mental images began to take form. In fact, I enjoyed this cast of characters so much, I would jump at the chance to read a follow-up novel involving a different case but the same group of people. Goodman introduced all the characters with a level of familiarity in the narrative, it would be good to see some of the backstories that were hinted at played out or new cases taken and tackled. If The Color of Jadeite was any indication of a “first impression” I am very interested in what Eric D. Goodman offers to his readers in the future.