Chinese Cooking for Diamond Thieves – St Louis MO – Dave Lowry

Why a booktrail?

Well the title was enough to get us interested. Sounds fun and is set in St Louis Missouri which was a nice surprise.

Story in a Chinese Fortune cookie

Tucker loves to cook and his dream is to become a chef in a restaurant cooking ‘chinese food. He heads off to St Louis but on the way meets up with the intriguing Corinne Chang and agreeing to give her a lift to Buffalo in New York, they strike up one heck of a relationship and start to have the adventure of a lifetime.

Tucker and Corinne are two of a kind – he loves martial arts, speaks Mandarin and loves Chinese cooking and she is a gemologist from Montreal. will they have the skills and the ability to thwart the bad guys after diamonds, the FBI and a whole lot more?

Place and setting

map of usa showing locations in the Chinese cooking for diamond thieves
1. USA – New Hampshire – Beddingfield – Canal Street
Beddingfield College is fictitious but there’s a nice stroll to be had down by Israel river after having visited one of the cafes in town where Tucker may have worked once.
Tucker is his way to St. Louis, MO,
2. St Louis – Busch memorial stadium
Tucker is his way to St. Louis, MO. There used to be a chinatown downtown which was demolished for the building of the Busch memorial stadium in 1966 and no real chinatown has been replaced due to planning restrictions? The area of Hop Alley bounded by Seventh, Tenth, Walnut and Chestnut streets.
3.  St Louis – olive Boulevard
There are lots of restaurants and food stores up and along Olive Boulevard/Skinker Boulevard today
4. St Louis – Forest Park
Forest park is where shots are fired in the book and is also the site of the World’s fair pavilion
5. USA – New York – Buffalo – University Heights
Where Corinne needs a lift to (she works in Montreal, Canada) she stays with a friend who lives in the University Heights area

If you’ve ever wondered how diamond and Chinese cooking could be in the same story then look no further for this is quite a mix and is all brought together via a road trip like no other.

Having been kicked out of college in Beddingfield College in Lancaster, NH, Tucker is  his way to St. Louis, MO, when he picks up hitchhiker Corinne and offers her a ride to buffalo. Via this parents house in Lancaster MA, their road trip becomes one adventure after another  – all told via chapters headed with one of Tucker’s rules and words of wisdom which he uses to guide his actions along the way –

Rule #8: Hitting people is often bad, but if it’s necessary, it’s necessary to hit first–always.

Rule #19: Never pick up strangers at a highway rest stop unless they speak Mandarin.

Rule #94: When the rules don’t cover it, improvise.

The rules as well as the adventure are as wacky as they come and the  sense of adventure as the couple ride through one town after another and get through scraps and other more serious situations is like being there yourself. The camaraderie and chatter in the car is familiar and real. The suspicions and the involvement with the FBI intriguing and the sense that Tucker is a guy who survives on luck as well as his martial arts skills.

There are many worlds within this book – the sense of adventure, the tasty and aromatic world of Chinese cooking which Tucker is extremely passionate about and the world of martial arts. One minute cookery scenes to make you drool followed by action scenes makes for a very unique and brilliant read.

If you are fascinated by the workings of a Chinese kitchen, how the dishes are invented and prepared, how the chef hones his skills and how the food is much more than something you eat then pick up the chopsticks on the cover and tuck in.

Bookish musings 

Drool! I so need to eat Chinese food now. What a fun, often silly but never boring road trip and immersion into the world of Chinese cuisine. Ahh the rice, noodles and all that preparation. Who knew it was such an art form? and as for Tucker who is passionate about martial arts as well as theMandarin chinese language, then he is quite a character I never expected to meet. Corinne brings him friendship, adventure and trouble but all in all this makes for a fun read. A unique title, a quirky cover and  an adventurous read in every sense of the word!

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