Warner, Feb 2003, 24.95, 458 pp.
Early in 1949 while her journalist husband Aidan Shaw works in the China Bureau, Joanna manages a retreat for young New Delhi girls sold into prostitution. Because of his criticism of Chiang Kai-Shek, the House on un-American Activities through the FBI begins looking into Aidan and Joanna. To reduce the heat from the States, Aidan is reassigned to cover the war in Kashmir. However, Joanna learns that his plane crashed, but no bodies were recovered.
Needing closure and in denial, Joanna refuses to accept the official position that her spouse is dead. She tries official channels, but the State Department, Aidan's media agencies, and other government officials provide her with stonewalling bureaucratic bunk. Disgusted with everyone from the US to China to the UN to India, she turns to Aidan's best friend, Australian Secret Service Agent Lawrence Malcolm who insists that if she wants the truth she must journey to Kashmir. Joanna, Lawrence, and ten-year-old Kamla (rescued from a brothel) begin their trek in Kashmir, but soon finds the Civil War in China holds the answers.
FLASH HOUSE is a powerful historical action thriller that brings to life the period of the Communist Revolution in China. The story line vividly displays the era in China and India, and implies what the atmosphere back in DC was like. The audience will care about Joanna and want her to succeed even though she may detest what she learns about Aidan. Though loaded with action, Aimee Liu insures the key players (the three travelers and indirectly Aidan) are fully developed in a tale that guides the reader through the dynamics of 1949 Asia.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner