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The Chinaman by Stephen Leather

The Chinaman (1992)

by Stephen Leather

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I read this book on first publication in the early 90’s and I enjoyed but I must admit on this second reading it felt somewhat dated if not dull and formulaic.

It certainly has an explosive (literally) start with the brutal death of the wife and daughter of a quietly spoken man called Nguyen Ngoc Minh. We quickly learn that this seemingly mild-mannered owner of a Chinese restaurant is in fact a trained and lethal killer from a long forgotten war in the killing fields of Vietnam. He wants revenge for the senseless murder of his family and uses his battle skills and training to single handedly start a one man war against the IRA. We follow Nguyen on his sad quest knowing that whatever the outcome the journey will be bloody and violent and yet hoping that some kind of justice will prevail.

This book is actually advertised as the first in the Mike “joker” Cramer series....which is a bit of a joke in itself as our very own muscle bound SAS hero only appears as the story concludes. His jokes, testosterone and muscle bound attitude is therefore very limited and for that I am eternally grateful because the real hero in the book is Nguyen Ngoc Minh.....a simple man living a quiet life when everything he knows and loves is destroyed and this sets him off on a journey with just one question....why?? ( )
  runner56 | Dec 19, 2015 |
Four out of ten. An ex-Viet Cong veteran, was living the quiet life in South London until the day his wife and youngest daughter were destroyed by an IRA bomb in a Knightsbridge department store. Then, simply but persistently, he began to ask the authorities who were the men responsible, what was being done. And was turned away, fobbed off, treated as a nuisance. Which was when the Chinaman, denied justice, decided on revenge. And went back to war. ( )
  theboylatham | Jan 25, 2010 |
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They made an odd couple as they walked together through the store, the girl and the old woman.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0340580259, Mass Market Paperback)

The Chinaman understands death. Jungle-skilled, silent, and lethal, he had killed for the Viet Cong and then for the Americans, and he had watched helplessly when his two eldest daughters had been raped and killed by Thai pirates. But that was all behind him. Quiet, hardworking, and unassuming, the Chinaman had been building up a take-away food business when his wife and youngest daughter were caught by an IRA bomb in a department store. Simply but persistently, the Chinaman asked the authorities about who had set the bomb. After he is turned away by the authorities and treated as a nuisance, he decides there is only one path before him. The Chinaman, denied justice, decides he must take revenge into his own hands, and declares war.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:42 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Jungle-skilled, silent and lethal, he had killed for the Viet Cong and then for the Americans. His family suffered for his past and when they were killed, the Chinaman went back to war to take revenge on the men who took their lives.

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