Book Review: Pearls of Asia

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Kirkus Review

A fast-paced romp with plenty of plot twists. Geiger deftly balances the murder investigation with the developing relationship between Mac and Sheyla. An enjoyable, intelligent read that triumphs over its minor shortcomings.

AreJay Deedee

Lee Geiger has managed to go where all but a few fear to tread. On top of creating a compelling detective/murder-mystery novel in the spirit of Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett, he has been able to meld tremendous humor with unusual insight. While I wasn’t expecting to be treated to a thought-provoking love story, this element of the novel was artfully crafted without being sensationalized. I thoroughly enjoyed the read and I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next.

Are Tee

The story was so well written that even for the type of subject matter you can’t put it down. You want to keep reading to see what is going to happen next. There is enough detail to keep you interested but not so much that you find yourself bored. Also such insight on subject matter that most are not aware of the depths of compassion, only what is perceived thru the news media. What a fascinating way to link such different genres together. I can hardly wait to see what Lee comes up with next.

My Thoughts

This was an unexpected, refreshing read. For a debut novel, I was impressed. In Lee Geiger’s debut novel, Pearls of Asia: A Love Story, we follow detectives Mac Fleet and Taylor Mayes as they investigate the death of news anchorwoman Michelle Osher. Through twists and turns, we finally figure out who the killer is, as well as watch love blossom between Mac Fleet and the lead suspect in the case.

I’ve read my fair share of romance and mystery novels, and this book combines them in a way that has you glued to the pages. The subject matter is not often seen in mainstream fiction, and it was a breath of fresh air. Geiger uses strong imagery and beautifully twisted descriptions to bring the story to life. The characters are believable and relatable. The detectives have a working relationship that is easy and unforced, showing off the talents of the author.

The story progresses with the murder investigation and the reader is taken into a world of beautiful women, crude humor, and a few surprises that keep the story entertaining and engaging. We come upon the club “Pearls of Asia,” where we meet Sheyla Samonte, a dancer and waitress. And also the prime suspect. When we first happen upon the club, the reader gets the impression that they’ve entered into a new world, one I assumed was a strip club before I read on. The women who work at the club are actually transgender, giving the story a completely new element.

Geiger brings up topics not often discussed, and does so in such a positive way that it’s hard not to see the beauty in it. There’s so much to this world that hardly anyone knows about or understands. Or wants to know about and understand. We continue to get bits and pieces of the lives before and after the transitions. The struggle and hardships, the good and the ugly all make these characters real. These aren’t just women written into the story. They take on a life of their own.

They way the novel is written, the pace is never too fast or too slow; we are given just enough to keep us turning the page, but not so much that we’re bogged down with information. The story progresses just like any other romance would, but with a few twists and turns. Sheyla’s character continues to coerce Mac into situations that he doesn’t always want to be in, but he has a hard time saying no to her. Although much of it can be attributed to her affections for him, there’s always this underlying suspicion that she really is the murderer and is leading him astray.

Sheyla herself is enough to draw me in to the story. She’s such a strong woman, has been through so much, and still follows her heart and dreams. It’s because of this that the reader feels sympathetic toward her, even though there’s that little voice in the back of the reader’s mind saying that she may not be innocent. Her true intentions do come to light, and it makes the novel that much better. We get to see just what it’s like for someone in her situation to fall in love. She has to go through so much more, and added to this, we see Mac’s views open up to new possibilities and come to an understanding of a completely different culture.

Endings are never an easy thing to write, as it’s hard to wrap up a story. I just wish it was longer. I wanted to see the developed relationship between Mac and Sheyla. I wanted to see what happens to Mac and his life after the case. I wanted to see more. But we did get something. We saw a happy couple, free of judgement and showered with love and affection from those around them. I’d recommend this book to anyone.

[Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review]

Rating: 4/5 Stars

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