Review

The First Victim

by Ridley Pearson

Ridley Pearson is a triple threat writer with a reputation for
interesting, involving characters, in-depth background research and
page-turning plots. He freely admits that the most enjoyable part
of the process is the research, which not only lends authenticity
to the project at hand, but frequently stirs his imagination for
books to come. His diligent research of the tidal patterns of
Seattle's Puget Sound (the locus of his novels featuring
curmudgeonly detective Lou Boldt) led to an engrossing mystery
called UNDERCURRENTS. His exhaustive research on adoption scams for
last year's best-selling novel, PIED PIPER, led him to discover the
medieval and unconscionable practice of abandoning female babies in
contemporary China. He combined this background information in his
latest thriller, THE FIRST VICTIM, which began to take form in his
mind as he wrote other books.  

Young Chinese women pay thousands of dollars to be sealed in
shipping containers and smuggled to America. Little do they know
the fate that awaits them upon their arrival: prostitution, slave
labor in sweat shops for unscrupulous garment industry bosses, or
worse --- death at sea.  

A shipping container is found floating in Puget Sound. Known as
"Metal Icebergs," they are considered a hazard to navigation and
the Coast Guard is called to remove them. Strictly routine, until
they approach the sinking container and hear human cries. To the
horror of the Coast Guard, local media and Seattle police, three of
the women inside are dead, and more than a dozen others are
dehydrated and near starvation.  

Stevie McNeal, a popular Seattle television news anchor latches on
to the human interest story, much to the distaste of the Seattle
police, and especially Captain Lou Boldt. McNeal has a personal
interest in the story because her adopted little sister, Melissa, a
young Chinese woman and a stringer for the television station,
decides to explore the story and goes missing. McNeal joins Lou
Boldt and detective Jake LaMoia in the hunt for the missing
reporter. Their investigation leads them into the dens of the
Chinese Triad and to the powerful Mama Lu.  

Authentic locations, chases through rusting hulks in a flotilla of
junked ships, and a ticking clock plot, propel the book to its
exciting finale. While Pearson pads the early portion of the book
with information to bring new readers up to speed with the
continuing characters, a familiarity with his earlier books will
enhance the reader's enjoyment.  

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2011

The First Victim
by Ridley Pearson

  • Publication Date: June 1, 2000
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 0786889667
  • ISBN-13: 9780786889662