Molly's Reviews

Death Stalks the KhmerDeath Stalks The Khmer
by Patricia Harrington
America House Publisher
Highly recommended ... 5 stars

In Seabell, by their choice, a large community of Cambodians live segregated from the rest of the citizenry. Bridget O'Hearn, while not Asian, has come to know the Cambodian people from her work for the SouthEast Asian Assistance Agency. When Hahn Lys and his wife are found dead in their apartment the SEAAA appoint Bridget to serve as liaison between the community and the police. Enter Detective Jack Patrewski. He and O'Hearn set out to unravel the mystery surrounding the deaths and in doing so find themselves embroiled in an even greater mystery. Before long O'Hearn is convinced that the deaths relate back to the old Khmer Rouge days while whispers of bad karma surrounds much of the thinking of the residents. O'Hearn is viewed by many within the community as an unwelcome intruder, while others believe she is a helpful outsider.

Death Stalks The Khmer is the well wrought product of writer Harrington, who like her Bridget O'Hearn is well versed in the intricacies of the Cambodian refugees living here in this county. Harrington has peopled her work with a fine assortment of characters. The clash of cultures resulting from transporting a large group of people from their own land to what is considered to be a safer enviornment is presented in a deft manner in this well crafted ethnic mystery. As in life, the old generation presented in Death Stalks The Khmer clings to the old ways while the younger generation yearns to be wholly American.

Steinbeck's displaced Okies are evocative of the struggles facing those who fled the terror of Pol Pot and now live in an enviorment very different from that they have always known. This fast paced thriller is reminiscent of the drama found in the works of Dashiell Hammett.

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2005 by Molly Martin