Steph Cha’s Juniper Song Mysteries feature the unusual Korean-American protagonist who is now a licensed private detective in Dead Soon Enough.
The series with a modern LA noir feel finds Song having her own cases at the newest PI for Lindley and Flores. When she’s hired by Dr. Rubina Gasparian, it’s for a most unique reason: Rubina wants Song to follow her cousin, Lusig, who is acting a surrogate for Rubina and her husband Van, a surgeon. Carrying their baby and remaining stress free and healthy should be Lusig’s primary job right now, as far a Rubina is concerned. For Lusig, that goal has been usurped by looking for her best friend, Nora, missing for a month now.
Lusig, Rubina and Nora are all linked by their Armenian roots. Rubina soon realizes that keeping Lusig safe means moving Song into her home for now and letting her look for Nora in the evenings when she is home to keep an eye on her cousin. Song’s investigative threads for the missing Nora revolve around Nora’s battle to allow a memorial honoring the Armenian genocide by the Turks to be installed.
A Turkish group has been fighting the installation, claiming that the genocide a hundred years ago that coined the term in the first place was a war. Heavily funded, Song suspects more and more that this group had something to do with Nora’s disappearance. Along the way she will visit a strip club, just one situation she finds herself in as she tries to find Nora.
This is a fast-paced mystery that allows Song to deliberate her own feelings about motherhood and where she sees her future heading. There is plenty of action but even more interesting to Auntie M is the way Song is constantly examining herself and her feelings–and just how far she’s prepared to compromise herself to catch a killer.
By the end, long-held secrets will be revealed and just when the reader thinks they know what’s happened, the story turns into itself and Song finds herself in jeopardy.
Cha has a nice way of getting into Song’s head and the series has a visual feel that would translate well to the big screen. Auntie M particularly liked the young lawyer Song comes across and hopes readers will see more of him in the next installment.