Beijing Payback by Daniel Nieh

Beijing Payback

Victor Li is devastated by his father’s murder, and shocked by a confessional letter he finds among his father’s things. In it, his father admits that he was never just a restaurateur—in fact he was part of a vast international crime syndicate that formed during China’s leanest communist years.Victor travels to Beijing, where he navigates his father’s secret criminal life, confronting decades-old grudges, violent spats, and a shocking n...

Details Beijing Payback

TitleBeijing Payback
Release DateJul 23rd, 2019
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Cultural, China, Crime, Contemporary

Reviews Beijing Payback

  • karen
    i will be reviewing this for l.a. review of books. posted today!!
  • Audrey
    This was a disappointment. I loved the idea but it meandered a bit that I had a hard time focusing. It almost seemed like it was a kid’s dream version of vengeance for his father. Moreover, the women characters were so peripheral and weakly drawn. Actually, it pretty much only focused on Victor and he wasn’t an interesting enough character to carry the book.I received an arc from the publisher but all opinions are my own.
  • Veronica
    If you like the Joe Ide books, I highly recommend this book. It's not Sherlock Holmes, but Nieh's writing draws you in from the beginning.
  • Alison
    The black guy is great at basketball, the Jewish guy is good with money and all the women are hot. Not much of an imagination. How about mentioning a woman without telling us about her long hair and legs? Would it be so hard?
  • Tessah
    Fantastic read. It has everything you want in a thriller -- great action, humor, memorable characters, plus nuggets of wisdom about being a human in the 21st century.
  • Laurel Starkey
    I started reading this book because a review promised a fast-paced day of exciting reading. Instead I found irritating characters, stiff silly dialogue and an unrealistic plot. It had a surprise ending but by the time I got to the end I so strongly disliked Victor (the book’s narrator) that I didn’t care. I had no feelings for any of the characters. You know in horror movies where you shout at the screen “Don’t go in there!” but the idi...
  • Kathleen Gray
    Imagine you're a college student and your father Li is murdered. Horrible, right? Well, then imagine that you discover that he was just running a restaurant, he was running a crime organization that started in China years ago and continues today. That's what Victor, and his sister Jules are faced with. Victor has never taken things too seriously but he has good friends in Andre and Eli. Can he or should he trust Sun, who turns up and claims to ha...
  • Meredith Rankin
    My thoughts on what worked for me: The well-developed characters I particularly liked the fun interplay between Victor, his long-time best buddy Andre, and their roommate Eli. They’re funny, quirky, and genuinely seem to care about each other, though in their college-boy phase of life, that looks more like back-slapping and fist-bumping than hugs and crying on each other’s shoulders. The interaction between Victor and his two roommates helps ...
  • Chris
    Beijing Payback finds Victor and his sister Jules mourning the murder of their father. In the following days, Victor is given a letter from his father that reveals he has been living a secret life. Not only is he running 4 restaurants, but he is also one of four founders of a crime syndicate in Beijing. Enter Sun, Old Li's protege since his childhood, who takes him on a mission to avenge his father's death and expose the syndicate, who his father...
  • Ho Lin
    Decent premise focuses on Victor, a typical SoCal Chinese-American college student, as he comes to grips with his father's murder, and the mysterious underworld figures who appear in his life after the event. Though the dialogue is a bit stilted, the first half keeps you engaged as Victor, his sister, and assorted friends and allies carry out their own investigation. But once the action shifts to Beijing, originality and realism fly out the windo...
  • Stephanie
    Long, winding, and meandering revenge story that seemed like it was written for the screen, not a book. Lots of violence and action sequences that turned out great for a young and inexperienced kid from America. I listened to the audiobook which was the best way to consume it if you have any experience with the Chinese language or Beijing. Embarrassingly shallow versions of female characters: the dead mother who gets hardly a mention, the angry s...
  • Etan
    This was a fast-paced, surprising and stylish thriller, made even more compelling by the skillful way that Victor moves between worlds - obviously America to China, but also from the comfort of a dorm room to the unknown dangers of the Beijing underbelly. A less thoughtful novelist would gloss over the severe emotional impact of everything that Victor undergoes in such a short amount of time. Nieh keeps the psychological undertow of all the reeli...
  • Scooby Doo
    Kind of a fun, fast crime thriller. The main characters were portrayed very well, too well in fact. They seemed very realistic. Then when the plot turned into a gang/crime story, it seemed unbelievable for these very normal and believable characters. The final plot twist didn't seem believable to me either.
  • Donna Taormina
    A pretty interesting plot about Chinese gangs, illicit organ trade, and how the children of a (now deceased) gangster try to pick up the pieces of their lives and find out who their father really was. Sometimes the pace was a little slow, sometimes fast, and that choppiness detracted from the overall quality. But def a great debut.
  • Peter Meirs
    Clever story that took a while to get up to speed. Almost stopped at 30 pages (my standard decision point) but I'm glad I waited it out. I liked that the book focused on a multi-racial (Asian/white) guy and his sister and provided an interesting view of Beijing that split between capitalistic interests, the authoritarian PRC and the local gangs.
  • Kady
    I think this will be a better movie than it was a book. The internal monologue of the main character was pretty bland, so if you get rid of that, you have a pretty fun, propulsive story. I did see the final twist coming from the first third of the book, but the deployment of it was more nuanced than expected.
  • Beth
    The first thing that drew me to this book was that the main character is a college student. It is so hard to find books with college students! This was a solid mystery that gradually reveals a very complex family dynamic. This is a great book recommendation for high school seniors.
  • Elizabeth
    3.5 stars, rounded up. Good, fun. Potential for a good fun series.
  • PG
    Entertaining and well-written.
  • Jillybb
    I am not the intended demographic for this YA-ish book with massive doses of contemporary hipster-speak. The plot strains logic far too often so I stopped reading. Next.
  • Ann Armstrong
    A good summer read with some nice plot twists and turns!
  • Emily Zhao
    Besides the cliche thriller thugs, nightclubs, and sexy girls, I appreciated the realistic Chinese-American voice and fresh storywriting.
  • Diane Fogel
    Fast pace story, Love Victors character. Would have liked the story to go a bit farther though. Left me wanting more.