Imagine, if you will, what the offspring of Sandra Tsing Loh (or Amy Tan) and Chuck Pahlaniuk might be like. Imagine their daughter had a law degree and chucked it to write crime fiction, but kept the stiletto heels and Prada.
You've just imagined both Angela S. Choi and her debut novel's protagonist, Fiona. Except Fiona chooses not to write crime fiction, but to abet crime itself, in a very strange way.
This is a pithy and entertaining read. Fi is not an adorable, likeable character, not a Hello Kitty (all cuteness, no mouth, no threat, no will of her own), but a smart and sassy woman who knows what she wants -- and, more importantly, what she does not. The story concerns her unorthodox but ultimately successful quest to achieve both ends in her own prickly way.
Her partner in crime, Sean, is less well-drawn and never quite comes alive, but perhaps he doesn't need to. While Fi describes him as the love of her life, it's obvious that she doesn't mean this in the conventional or romantic sense: he's her ultimate anti-fashion accessory, and on that level he's just what the doctor ordered (and yes, he's a doctor). His job is not to fulfill or complete her, but to wedge her out of the role in which she has felt trapped, as is, perhaps, hers for him.
Ultimately, this book is about getting stuff out of one's system. Now that Choi has gotten some stuff out of hers -- her obvious distaste for Chinese culture and for the way in which deliberate singles are viewed -- I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next, for she shows a great deal of promise. Next!