This Is a Bust

This Is a Bust THIS IS A BUST the second novel by award winning author Ed Lin turns the conventions of hard boiled pulp stories on their head by exploring the unexotic and very real complexities of New York City s

  • Title: This Is a Bust
  • Author: Ed Lin
  • ISBN: 9781885030450
  • Page: 494
  • Format: Paperback
  • THIS IS A BUST, the second novel by award winning author Ed Lin, turns the conventions of hard boiled pulp stories on their head by exploring the unexotic and very real complexities of New York City s Chinatown, circa 1976, through the eyes of a Chinese American cop A Vietnam vet and an alcoholic, Robert Chow s troubles are compounded by the fact that he s basically commuTHIS IS A BUST, the second novel by award winning author Ed Lin, turns the conventions of hard boiled pulp stories on their head by exploring the unexotic and very real complexities of New York City s Chinatown, circa 1976, through the eyes of a Chinese American cop A Vietnam vet and an alcoholic, Robert Chow s troubles are compounded by the fact that he s basically community relations window dressing for the NYPD he s the only Chinese American on the Chinatown beat, and the only police officer who can speak Cantonese, but he s never assigned anything challenging than appearances at store openings or community events Chow is willing to stuff down his feelings and hang tight for a promotion to the detective track, despite the community unrest that begins to roil around him But when his superiors remain indifferent to an old Chinese woman s death, he is forced to take matters into his own hands THIS IS A BUST is at once a murder mystery, a noir homage and a devastating, uniquely nuanced portrait of a neighborhood in flux, stuck between old rivalries and youthful idealism.

    One thought on “This Is a Bust”

    1. I stumbled across This Is a Bust, by Ed Lin, in my local library by accident—because the cool, funky cover art (pictured above) grabbed my attention. The interior of the book also had a somewhat funky design. There are no first line paragraph indents; instead, everything is flush left with an extra return between each paragraph. This was all very appealing to me as a book designer (yes, I do judge a book by its cover). OK, enough on the design.The novel also appealed to me as a writer. The bac [...]

    2. I enjoyed this book. The 'murder mystery' aspect of the story was pretty secondary to just the story of the main character's daily life as a downtrodden Vietnam vet Chinese-American policeman. The most impressive part of the book is the setting - Lin does an incredible job of depicting 1976 Chinatown (NY). You can feel the political and racial tensions, taste the food, hear the tourists and the festivals, see the streetscapes and stores, etc. It was an original (to me) and interesting place to r [...]

    3. 3.5*Let me be honest: there is very little Ed Lin can do wrong in writing a book about Chinese-Americans, with Chinese-American protagonists, because this the playing field is so limited to begin with. Also, I'm predisposed to like him because we share a last name, and I get overly excited whenever I can find media created by People Who Have My Last Name. The last book I read of Lin's, Ghost Month, was, dare I say, not very good. However - limited playing field. Despite the previous book of his [...]

    4. This book is very well written and has a great flow but was definitely not what I was expecting. His description of the constant criticism and quirks that the Chinese have of them selves is interesting. You can honestly feel how old school NY Chinatown was the good, the bad and the ugly.

    5. There's a detective story in here somewhere, but it's totally secondary to a great picture of NYC's Chinatown in the 70s. The narrator Robert Chow is a police officer and Vietnam vet. He's alienated from the Chinese community because he is a police officer and isn't truly accepted by the other police officers. Through Chow's disaffected eyes we see the contradictions and complications of the Chinese community. For the majority of the book Lin's flat sardonic style sets the perfect tone, but at t [...]

    6. This is the first in a trilogy of novels by Ed Lin featuring American/Chinese N.Y.P.D. Police Officer Robert Chow. The year is 1976 and Vietnam veteran and alcoholic Chow is assigned a foot patrol beat in New York's Chinatown where he lives. Chow is the N.Y.P.D.'s Chinese poster boy and is actively encouraged not to participate in any investigative work, his main duty is being present at local community events and making sure he gets his photograph in the press at these events. When a local wait [...]

    7. This book was phenomenal. I admit I am biased because I related so much to the characters, the setting and time. I grew up in Jersey in the 70s and this book was about a Chinese American cop in NYC's Chinatown in the 70s. Ed Lin makes it look easy with spare writing. The story flows and the characters all come to life. The dialogue is great, and Lin really captures the mood and personalities of the time. The book's first few pages start off shaky with writing that isn't as strong and clean Lin's [...]

    8. reminiscent of the writings of Elmore Leonard, the narrative is gritty, minimalist and darkly funny at times. This is not set in exotic Chinatown but the real deal. For those who are familiar with New York City, some of the descriptions are cringeworthy but absolutely spot on. There is an air of '70s nostalgia throughout the whole book which is enjoyable for those who remember that era of black and white TVs and Hawaii Five-O. The alcoholic protagonist Robert Chow is someone who grows on you - y [...]

    9. At a reading I recently attended (Ed does VOICES at his readings, make it a point to check him out!), Lin named pulp fiction and punk rock as his influences, punk rock because of its ease with being direct about outrage. Lin has a truly unique, direct, to-the-nuts voice, and he addresses crucial elements of the urban chinese american experience in an unprecedented way. No lush bamboo flutes and spiritualist exotica here, no tales of grandiose sacrifice and emotional discovery. The book could be [...]

    10. Really intricate layers (simple writing style, part noir/part sociology); happy to have discovered it on my own; necessary reading during this time of racial turmoil; another book I've read recently that has perfectly (or very near to it) mirrored my recent life and mental preoccupations. This book seems to get so much right about what it's like to actually be Chinese and ethnic and male and traumatized and a member of multiple worlds yet all in one very compact space. If this book has already b [...]

    11. Ed Lin did a great job on character development in this book. I enjoyed the fact that his description of Chinatown helped me imagine what it would feel like to actually be there. The story does not have a strong plot but it kept me entertained because I genuinely became interested in the day to day life of the main character. The book has a very nice flow to it from beginning to end and I finished it rather quickly. It is a great light read, I recommend it!

    12. I really liked Waylaid, but this book didn't do it for me nearly as much. I don't think Lin's writing style fits the subject matter here. Everyone kind of speaks in the same voice, which may be a nod to noir writing, and I think the alcoholism theme is dealt with a little too lightly.That being said, I count myself as a Lin fan and look forward to reading more of his novels.

    13. Definitely one of the best books that I have read so far this year. Not a false note from front to back and just a really great read. I look forward to more from Ed Lin.I had to go all the way to (indie bookstore)Longfellow's in Portland, ME to find this book! I think it was a staff recommendation-now I give it a reader recommendation.

    14. 1970's NYC Chinatown, cops and a sweet examination of in-/out-group identification in the Chinese community.Very enjoyable, straight ahead detective story set in a well described place ans space in time.This was a happy accident read, just saw it laying around the library, cover and first chapter got me hooked.

    15. Not bad. A friend dropped this book in my lap (literally) a couple of weeks ago. I was hesitant to read it, but it turned out to be a bit of a pleasant surprise. Interesting period piece on New York's Chinatown (circa 1976) and the struggles of being Chinese American.

    16. Interesting read about being a minority within a minority and struggling to belong with so many cultural expectations (both American, Chinese, and Chinese American). Crime and addiction help keep the story moving. A nice snapshot of one type of American life in the 1970s.

    17. I think I enjoyed it more of a 3.5 or 3.7 star rating, I'm not sure. What I liked about it is the authentic sense of what it would be like to be an Asian cop in Chinatown, New York in the 1970sI am always a sucker for reading about other people's cultural experiences.

    18. A great book. Wonderful 70s Chinatown atmosphere. Looking forward to his new one, Snakes Can't Run, in March.

    19. Not a bad book it took me a little while to get into it but once I did I enjoyed the characters and the change and growth in them.

    20. Lots of recently-written books claim to be hard-boiled or noir. This is the real deal. Bonus points for vivid evocation of time-place and wrenchingly deadpan depiction of the sequelae of trauma.

    21. Set in NYC's Chinatown during the Bicentennial, "This is a Bust" is about a Chinese-America cop dissatisfaction with his job -and his life.

    22. Not a bad read. Some parts were a little convenient, even given the genre, but I held a lot of appreciation for the pressures faced by the main character.

    23. In some ways, this isn't the typical detective novel in that it concentrates more on the life of the detective rather than a preoccupation with the mystery.

    24. Oh my God, I don't know why I love this book so much. So New York, so vivid, so *not* produced by an MFA. Read it.

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