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Child of My Winter    by Andrew Lanh order for
Child of My Winter
by Andrew Lanh
Order:  USA  Can
Poisoned Pen, 2010 (2017)
Hardcover, Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

A child of dust is what Rick van Lam is called. Or bui doi in Vietnamese. For Rick's mother was Vietnamese while his father was an American soldier. Not an easy parentage to have when living in Vietnam.

After a childhood in an orphanage where his mother dropped him when she could no longer care for him, Rick made his way to America and is now living a very different life. A good one. He had been a cop but then turned to being a private eye while also teaching a part-time course at the local college.

One of his students, Dustin (a brainy Vietnamese scholarship student) seems to live a very lonely and secluded life. Rick, remembering his earlier unhappy days, tries to reach out to this young man but is unable to do so.

When a favorite professor is gunned down, the police have their eyes on Dustin. Dustin had had a very vocal argument with that professor and they were sure Dustin shot him. Rick is sure he didn't.

While Rick tries to solve the mystery of who wielded the gun that killed the teacher, the author manages to insert into the narrative the problems that refugees coming to the USA (bringing along their own culture) experience fitting into their new neighborhoods. Rick uses his own life experiences to try to reach Dustin who, while declaring his innocence, refuses to open up to Rick.

Child of My Winter by Andrew Lanh is the fourth of the Rick van Lam series. In all of these mysteries, Lanh manages to insert accounts of the lives of Vietnamese refugees who find it difficult to adjust to a new country, a new language and a new culture. Well worth a read.

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