Combine an obsessive, compulsive, and desperate salesperson willing to go to any lengths to make a sale, with an unlikely group of Triad members of the fan gang in Hong Kong, and see a recipe for disaster the likes of which we have never seen before.
In Chop Suey: A Darby Stansfield Thriller by Ty Hutchinson, we follow the often funny and goofy plans of Darby Stansfield to move back to the sales leaderboard at his job for a telecommunications company. When blackmailing his customers doesn’t work, he comes up with even stranger ideas, which just create more problems, but he is determined to find a way to succeed.
Having dinner at his favorite place, Mr. Fu’s restaurant, he spends a little time speaking with Mr. Fu himself. When Darby notices his tattoo and remarks on it, Mr. Fu begins to tell Darby his story. Talking about his former life the older gentleman describes his life in the Triad organization, but with a warning to Darby of confidentiality. Later at home as Darby is wrestling with more ways to sell his equipment, Fu’s story pops into his head, creating an even more diabolical plan of selling his product. He will find a way to sell to the fan gang, a member gang of the Triads. How hard can it be?
His friend Tav is aghast and yet Darby is enthralled. This plan could be the break he is looking for. If he can help make the fan gang more successful, they will have to continue to buy from him. This plan is the perfect set up. It will put his name back on the top of the leader board. First, he must find a way to make himself known.
Little does Darby know, but he has woken a deep and deadly dragon with his questions. Brutal and sadistic, remembering his enjoyment of slaughter, this deadly entity both hates Darby and relies on him. Darby’s questions and involvement have reawakened his longing for revenge.
Unaware of the danger he created; Darby heads to Hong Kong to make a deal, and meets the notorious gang he is looking for. Showing them how he can help them they agree to use his product, but are not yet sold on the idea. Darby will have to work hard to get them to buy in. Meeting a young police officer in Hong Kong, he is surprised to run into her back in the States. He is unnerved to find out her sister has been murdered. Hooking up with her, he is a bit nervous in case she finds out what he is planning. Can he help her find the killer without tipping his hand?
Darby is a desperate man, unwilling to do the real work involved in sales. He is looking for a quick sale and, while this makes him quite shallow, he is also quite funny and startlingly bold. His conceptualization of ideas is quite hilarious, and he has made a few enemies. But he is also quite fun to be around and has some good friends. His friend Tav is behind him even though he does not believe in his schemes, but is willing to back him in any way he can.
Leslie Choi, the young officer from Hong Kong, is desperate to find the murderer of her sister. She relies on Darby to help her and she really enjoys his company. She is driven. Something seems familiar about this killer. It tugs at her memory; she feels as though they may have crossed paths before. Working with local law enforcement, all hell breaks loose when she disappears. Darby realizes he must get involved and find the killer before it is too late for Leslie.
I would recommend this book for those who enjoy suspense. Be prepared for humor and nonsense as well; it is intriguing and funny, but make no mistake; there is a certain darkness about the killer that keeps it on track. The humor twists throughout the narrative, but the danger and darkness keep the suspense high.
This would make a great book for a book club or a reading group. It is both intrinsically funny and inherently evil, a strangely intoxicating blend, one that keeps the action rolling.