#Blogtour White Crane Strikes by Ivy Ngeow

It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour White Crane Strikes by Ivy Ngeow.

About the Author

Born and raised in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, Ivy Ngeow is the author of three published novels and numerous short stories, one of which has been performed and broadcast on the BBC World Service. 

Others have been published in literary journals such as Burning Press, Lunate, Fixi Novo anthology and and also broadsheets like The Straits Times. 

Her debut novel won the 2016 International Proverse Prize, and was published in Hong Kong in 2017. She holds an MA from Middlesex University where she was awarded the University’s 2005 Literary Press Prize, an international competition, out of 1500 entrants. Most recently, she was editor of Asian Anthology New Writing Vol.1 which was published in Feb 2022 in London. 

Her latest novel was on a longlist of 12 for the 2021 Avons x Mushens Entertainment Prize for commercial fiction by a BAME writer. Ivy is a regular suburban mum who loves dogs, cake and piano-pounding. She lives in London. Follow @ivyngeow on Twitter, on Instagram @ivyngeow, on Facebook ivyngeowwriter

About the book

An enormous mansion. A Chinese restaurant. A baby on the way. Handyman Jerome “Jay Jay” Lee has landed a dream job. An underground tong seems to think so too.

Chicago, 1971. Jay Jay’s girlfriend wants a big knock-’em-dead wedding and a new bigger apartment with the whole ball of wax. Grateful when her art world schmoozing lands him a fixer-upper gig for a wealthy arts patron, he has no idea about the sleeping dragon he’s about to wake. 

His boss gets him a Chinatown side hustle, and Jay Jay looks the other way when he overhears an organized crime conversation for fear of losing the much-needed extra income and takeout treats. But when the Chinese restaurant manager vanishes, Jay Jay is trapped in threatening tong talk and the chow is now no fun. His family is now deep in hot soup. Will Jay Jay be able to save them before he’s crispier than a burnt wonton?

White Crane Strikes is a standalone. Fans of Lehane, Ovidia Yu and Naomi Hirahara, who like compelling characters, stirring settings and surprising twists, will love this smart and witty thriller.

Review

Jay is a bit here and there, but he is determined to do well for himself and his loved ones. Part of that is being responsible and getting a job, which is how he ends up being hired to rejuvenate an old mansion, the surrounding buildings and the extensive grounds. Not only does he get the job – it is also the beginning of both a mystery and a thriller that is built around it.

What I enjoyed the most about the story was the relationship, dialogue and interactions between Jay and his employer. The actions, reactions and choices Jay makes are often determined by his cultural background, his upbringing and his past experiences The same can be said about the way he interacts with his world in general. The need to succeed, whilst wanting to prove himself, and subconsciously looking for approval from what he perhaps perceives as a father figure.

There was a lot going on, and the plot went off in plenty of different directions, however the author does bring it all back together in the end. Personally I thought the plot surrounding Jay and Mr Alfred, and the discovery Jay makes, would have given enough fodder for a fascinating read. The author has a very specific voice when it comes to writing – I look forward to seeing how it evolves going forward.

Buy White Crane Strikes at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏: ‎Leopard Print pub date 30 Jun. 2022. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour Overboard by Ivy Ngeow

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour for Overboard by Ivy Ngeow today.

About the Author

Ivy Ngeow was born and raised in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. A graduate of the Middlesex University Writing MA programme, Ivy won the 2005 Middlesex University Literary Prize out of almost 1500 entrants worldwide. She has written non-fiction for Marie Claire, The Star, The New Straits Times, South London Society of Architects’ Newsletter and Wimbledon magazine. Her fiction has appeared in Silverfish New Writing anthologies twice, The New Writer and on the BBC World Service. Most recently, her story was published by Fixi Novo in an anthology.

Ivy won first prize in the Commonwealth Essay Writing Competition 1994, first prize in the Barnes and Noble Career Essay Writing competition 1998 and was shortlisted for the David T K Wong Fellowship 1998 and the Ian St James Award 1999.

Ivy has been a highly-accomplished multi-instrumental musician since childhood and won fifth prize (out of 850 entrants) in the 2006 1-MIC (Music Industry Charts) UK Award for her original song – Celebrity, when she formed her own band, Satsuma (2005-07). Her songs are funky, modern and eclectic, with strong urban grooves and lyrics. Satsuma has played headlining gigs at top London venues such as: The Marquee Club, The Troubadour Club, The Water Rats, The Betsey Trotwood, Plan B and Clockwork.

Follow @ivyngeow on Twitter, on Facebookon Amazonon Goodreads, Visit writengeow.comBuy Overboard

About the book

Thailand. An epic storm. A shipwreck. A white man has been found alive.

But who is he? Suffering horrific injuries and burns, he is taken to a local hospital. He is mute. Everything is a blank. They tell him his name. That is all he knows. When his Chinese wife arrives, he has no choice but to return to London to her family. He starts getting better with care and more surgery until one day… he’s assaulted. And he knows why.

The blow brings back a dangerous memory. But he’s crippled, disfigured and penniless… and he’s living the life of the man they think he is. What will he risk to uncover the truth?

Review

This begins with a man who doesn’t know his own identity – recovering somewhere in a hospital. Sole survivor of a shipwreck. A  man with no memories – luckily the world and people around him know. It all remains a bit of a mystery until he returns home with his wife and gets attacked. It turns out ending up in hospital wasn’t an accident.

Multiple characters across various locations in the world are introduced and often seem completely unrelated, but the author draws each thread in slowly like a patient fisherman reeling the reader in. Each line is skewered with different bait.

It’s a thriller, a slowly drawn picture of menace and mystery.

Although this is written with multiple character narratives the man who begins the story is the one who drives it in more ways than one. I wasn’t too keen on the second person narrative, however I wondered if that wasn’t an attempt to differentiate him from the others. To draw a line between and the other characters with him by himself on one side. It makes his narration appear blunt, abstract and often mixed with an air of arrogance and privilege.

At the same time he is speaking to himself. You are here, you are alive, you feel and you exist. When combined with the very specific writing style it gives the whole story a clipped modern feeling, which Ngeow tunes up by intermittently interjecting with a more lyrical voice. It’s an interesting experience.

Buy Overboard at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Leopard Print Publishing; pub date 24 Jan. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.