Scribner, Jul 2001, 24.00, 304 pp.
Though still in high school, Marina Lu seems to have it all. She is engaged to Michael Ho with their wedding set for two weeks and has earned admission to Berkley. However, her idyllic life ends in a San Gabriel, California parking lot where she had just ordered ten designer dresses for her bridesmaids. The police think this homicide is a carjacking that turned ugly, but Los Angeles Times reporter Eve Diamond wonders why the Lexus and Marina's diamond ring were not stolen.
Eve begins her investigation by talking with the counselor to teenage Asian expatriates Mark Furakama and follows that discussion with asking questions of students at Marina's school. She soon learns about a subculture involving “parachute kids” whose wealthy parents remain in Asia while the children live in America. Marina was one of the displaced children who was also responsible for her younger brother while her parents worked the Pacific Rim. The more Eve learns, the nastier the information turns as she uncovers an apparent slave whore trade, which places her life in danger.
THE JASMINE TRADE is an exciting investigative tale that will shock the reader who will want to deny the truth of “parachute kids”. The story line is exciting and the cast seems real, which add to the terror of a subculture caught between two worlds and afloat on its own.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner