Henry Parker, a journalist, must find out who killed the homeless man with whom he had an encounter, and who it turns out is a brother he never knew he had. Deputy District Attorney Josh Jin ignores office and ethnic politics and tries to gain the confidence of a young rape victim so he can prove his case against the man charged and arrested when she reveals him as the perpetrator. Josh Jin, a rising star in the prosecutor's office is demoted to intake and gets assigned a no-win sexual assault case that he decides to pursue, though the District Attorney who demoted him and is up for re-election, wants dropped. Jin was the token Chinese attorney who helped the DA get elected the first time, and has ties to Chinatown where the white victim lives.
Throughout his investigation, his ethnicity, Chinese political issues and the maneuvering surrounding the re-election campaign of his boss, constantly threaten to jeopardize his prosecution of the case as it becomes increasingly clear that someone wants to bury it. But as he forms a relationship with the girl, partly because she is around the same age as his daughter who died, he gets her to talk about the brutal rape and the events that led up to it and his resolve to prosecute the perpetrator is solidified.
Through the book, the procedures of the DA's office and their relationship with the police are explained, as well as the politics of the election and the how it affects the positions of the lawyer's in the DA's office. When the DA, a former boxer, knocks out a policeman and doesn't apologize, the police start to lose evidence and stop cooperating in investigations needed to prosecute charged criminals, including Jin's. But Jin, a former Sacramento cop, still has some friends on the force, and manages to get some information and help that he needs.
When they discover that the man she accused, Moody, let runaways use his home and some have disappeared, they set up surveillance at his house and start looking for children they discover disappeared. The trail they follow reveals a dark look at pedophilia, NAMBLA, dealing with men and little boys, and another organization called NAMGLA, dealing with men and little girls.
Throughout the story, we are convinced of the guilt of the man on trial and think that Jin is constantly being told to drop it because they are certain he will lose, and it would have political implications because it's a Chinatown case. But when he wins, he discovers the physical evidence that was missing and he also discovers the man he convicted is innocent.
Further investigation and Moody's recounting of what really happened to the child, that he wasn't the one who raped, but he was present when it happened. Though the men raped her anyway, they agreed not to take her and sell her into sexual slavery. This leads Jin and his investigators to the chilling realization that some very powerful people in the criminal justice system wanted to bury the case, not because they thought he would lose, but because of their involvement in one of the two pedophile organizations.
Moody's confession ties it altogether and helps Jin get to the bottom of it all, which sadly explains why the case was set to be dropped. It brings down very powerful people in the criminal justice system, such as his boss, the DA and at least one judge, changes the course of the election and restores Jin's to his former position in the DA's office.
Best part of story, including ending:
I liked that it was interspersed with Chinese tradition and sayings so you could understand why Jin pursued the case though it was a no-win.
Best scene in story:
My favorite scene was when he told the District Attorney that he should just apologize to the Sacrament Police department, publicly, so they wouldn't continue to mess up their cases. It was great the way he stood up to him and how he then ended up demoted to intake where no one wants to be.
Opinion about the main character:
I disliked that he simply couldn't move past his daughter's death and was willing to lose his wife because of it.