OVER THE SHOULDER
A Novel of Intrigue
Thriller & Noir
Leonard Chang is the creator of Allen Choice, a Korean-American security expert turned private eye who has so far appeared in three novels, Over the Shoulder (2001), Underkill (2003) and Fade to Clear (2009), a USA Today Summer Reading Pick and a finalist for the Shamus Award. His first two novels, The Fruit 'N Food and Dispatches from the Cold, garnered much praise for their deft handling of racial tension, thwarted dreams and existentialist angst. For The Fruit 'N Food, he won the Black Heron ...
Over the Shoulder offers a unique view of the American dream and what this means for Allen Choice, Korean American protagonist and reluctant investigator, shaken from the doldrums of his insulated life. Choice and his partner, Paul Baumgartner, are security specialists for Silicon Valley executives. When Paul gets killed on the job, Choice and an inexperienced Bay Area reporter, Linda Maldonado, begin looking into the puzzling circumstances of the murder. As they work together to unravel the intricate threads of lies and half-truths, they discover that his death might be linked to an older, more personal one - the mysterious death of Allen's father some twenty years earlier. With his self-described "philosophy of removement" as his frame of reference, Choice searches for the hidden, long-buried answers, only to be outmaneuvered at every juncture. Against this backdrop of violence and deception, Choice soon discovers secrets that alter his understanding of his father, of his family - secrets that lead him to a buried history of betrayal.
"That I am a nobody doesn't bother me as it might some people. I prefer anonymity, unobstructed movement through a crowd with neither a first nor a second glance in my direction." Anonymity is both existential goal and survival skill for Allen Choice, who may call himself a Korean-American but who isn't particularly comfortable with the label. A Silicon Valley security specialist (don't call him a bodyguard), Choice drifts through life the way he drifts through crowds: detached, isolated, neither particularly fulfilled nor particularly unhappy. He notes wryly, "I used to think I was in inertial rest, a body at rest remaining so. Once an outside force applied itself to me, I would be in motion. I liked this idea. It freed me, relieving me of the responsibility. I just had to wait for an out...