Wonton Terror A Noodle Shop Mystery by Vivien Chien is the fourth offering in the series. Following Lana Lee who manages her families noodle shop this book took forever for me to read. I started reading this book August 27th and finished September 28th. The review contains some minor spoilers. I cannot help it.
Wonton Terror started as a typical cozy. Though it is food themed that it is unlike most food themed cozies the protagonist is not a cook, baker, or chef. There are no recipes to read or parts where Lana cooks. Nope, she just works at the restaurant. Ok. I can handle that.
However, the constant infighting from Lana’s family became a real downer. The Lee families' behavior is dramatic. Lana’s sister being terrible. Then her aunt and mother fighting. A fourth or more of this book was the Lee family fighting. Or being terrible to one another. The characters act selfish and rude. I cannot imagine a family being that terrible and being able to run a business together. Nope. It’s a stretch. Overall, the fighting made this book drag on. If only Lana’s sister were rude, it would be ok. But Lana’s mother and sisters fighting was over the top.
The tone of the book is inconsistent. It hints early on domestic violence will be part of the murder motive. The author does not address domestic violence seriously as she should have. Domestic violence is the motive for the murder and a weak one. The motive is not revenge. Or to save the abuse victim during an attack. This is sloppy premeditated murder with a weak motive.
Wonton Terror’s murder victim never laid a hand on the killer. The killer was not a relative of the person the victim abused. This was not a heroic murder the abuse victim was not in imminent danger when the murder happened. The character who killed the victim had no real reason too. There were other options. The murder and killer made no sense. If the killer were the abuse victim or one of their children, I get it. Or even the abuse victims parent. That is not the case here. I felt like the author read Fried Green Tomatoes and took inspiration from that.
As, a survivor of domestic violence I felt like the writer had no clue. None. The motive was laughable yet offensive. Am I offended? No. Do I think it is offensive to use a serious issue as a plot device and then not take it seriously? Yes. There should have been accurate and informative information on domestic violence. Chein did not do her research.
I liked the book when I started reading but as the book dragged on; I dreaded reading it. That’s why it took a month to complete the book. I read some reviews before I wrote this. Some remarked other books in the Noodle Shop Mysteries are good and Wonton Terror was not. I cannot confirm this as this is the first book I read in the series. Because of the lackadaisical tone given to domestic violence, I will not be reading the other books.
I rated this book 2 out of 5 stars on Goodreads. I do not recommend it. I read an Advanced Readers Copy courtesy of NetGalley.