Book Review: Death Stalks the Khmer by Patricia Harrington

Death Stalks the KhmerDeath Stalks the Khmer
Patricia Harrington
PublishAmerica, 2001
ISBN 1588513505
Trade Paperback

A double killing has taken place in the Cambodian community of a town in Washington. Gathering evidence and information from the community is going to be very difficult, given the reluctance of the Cambodians to talk to the police, so Bridget O’Hern is asked to act as liaison.

Bridget is a consultant with the Southeast Asian Assistance Agency and, although her knowledge of the language is limited, she has gained the trust of many of the Cambodians and is familiar with their customs and cultural behavior. Detective Jack Patrewski resists her help at first, considering her more of a nuisance than anything, and his new partner, Consuelo Morales, dismisses her participation.

Interwoven throughout the initial murder investigation is the element of Asian teenage gang activity and their apparent attempts to recruit the children of the murdered couple. In addition, there are hints of illegal activities by some of the leaders of the community. Bridg and Jack must work through the various possible motives of the killings and the people who might be involved while also trying to protect the children, against great odds.

The author has created a fascinating tale, not only in the mystery of the murders, but in the story of the refugees from the Khmer Rouge. To many westerners, the entire Asian culture and history are mysteries in themselves, and none more so than the Cambodian. Ms. Harrington worked for many years with the Cambodian refugee community in the Puget Sound region and her experience and knowledge are readily apparent. The murder mystery by itself is very good and the additional benefit of gaining a little understanding of the people makes this a book that will have great

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, 2001.  Slightly revised 2010.
Review first published on in 2001.


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