Created by Leonard Chang
"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."
(Angst. It's not just for breakfast anymore...)
Billed as a "Novel of Intrigue," Leonard Chang's noirish Over the Shoulder introduces ALLEN CHOICE (nee Choi), an intriguing Korean-American Silicon Valley executive security specialist (don't call him a bodyguard, please) with some real problems. He's emotionally detached from life, a blank slate drifting through life, prizing his anonyminity, which allows him to do his job so effectively, and yet at the same time, vaguely aware that he's missing something:
"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 outside force. But I soon realized this was an illusion... I decided to call it the inertial deception. I can't succumb to it."
And then Allen's partner Paul Baumgartner, is killed in front of him, shot in the head by a drive-by motorcyclist.
Let's all read it together, shall we? From The Book of the Falcon, Chapter 20:
"When a man's partner is killerd he's supposed to do something about it.
It doesn't matter what you thought of him.
He was your partner and you're supposed to do something about it."
But Leonard's switch from security to reluctant investigator soon turns up some troubling things in not just Paul's past but his own past, and that of his father.
Since Over the Shoulder, Allen has appeared in two more well-received novels, Underkill (2003) and Fade to Clear (2004), following his evolution from bodyguard to private eye.
Author Chang teaches at Antioch University in the San Francisco Bay area. 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.
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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