Jack Yu, a Chinese-American cop, is a tormented character. Though he got out of Chinatown and likes being a cop, he knows that the NYPD isn't ever going to welcome him. Now he has been transferred back to his old neighborhood to investigate the rape of a child. But Chinatown is rife with violence--soon several crime lords are murdered, one of whom is Jack's boyhood friend.
The main character in this dark mystery is really Chinatown. There, various tongs (gangs) control everything. No one asks cops for help, even a Chinese cop, and no one offers help. Murders, beatings, drugs, gambling, and prostitution flourish in an atmosphere of violence.
Sometimes the various plots get buried under this vivid, meticulous depiction of New York City's Chinatown. But the somewhat slow pacing is counterbalanced by the colorful locale and realistic characters.
Chinatown Beat is well-written and should appeal to readers who love noir settings and characters.