Synopsis (from Goodreads):
Forbidden love, the Imperial Court of the Han Dynasty,jades worth millions on the black market ... Ross Lamos, 21st Century Karmic Detective, knows that somehow, the history of the three jades is his as well. Yu, the Stone of Heaven, jade art born from the genius of ancient China. Lamos has built his career dealing Asian art and antiquities by hiding his very useful psychic Touch. When he holds the jades, the yuuml; will reveal an extraordinary history. Lamos will risk everything to protect the jades, and finally remember his role in a love story that changed the course of a Dynasty ... the love between an extraordinary Concubine and a Prince, the son of her Emperor, and the Poet caught between them all ... a story hidden for two thousand years in three pieces of yu. Yu is the award winning first novel by Joy Shayne Laughter and begins the Ross Lamos mystery series.Length/Genre/Publisher/Release: novel, mystery, Open Books Press, 2010
When Valerie L walks into the shop where Ross works, his life will follow a path that will be determined in part by his own past (past life in this case), his psychic abilities and his own agency. Valerie brings three Han Dynasty jade pieces for Ross to look at, not for him to appraise, but to wake Ross up and ready him for the next stage of his life. What follows is a masterly blend of a tragic Romeo and Juliet/Pyramus and Thisbe story--the quintessential forbidden love story-with Ross confronting the figures from that long dead past drama. It is Valerie's duty to return each of the three jade pieces to their rightful owners, or the bodies their souls have been reincarnated in.
While Ross discovers his place in the forbidden love story between a third son prince and a concubine, he must also navigate who he is in the present. This first book in in Laughter's series is more about Ross letting go of the past and moving to the next stage in his life--away from past loves and past jobs. Ross is must reconcile his saintly image of his boss and mentor with the reality that business in the shop may not be all that it seems. It also appears that Ross has not had a romantic relationship since his boyfriend of two years decided to take vows and renounce concupiscence to become a Buddhist monk. This story is about a new chapter is Ross' life.
The mystery revolves more around the story of the three jade pieces as well as Ross' place in the torridly tender, as well as a bit bloody, love story.
I normally hate time travel books, but the use of reincarnation and the stories the jades tell created a lovely and vivid story. I look forward to reading how Laughter develops this character.
If you like:
...tales with an element of eastern mysticism, ancient Chinese historical fiction, GLBT mysteries,
I loved this book and it was a breath of fresh air. The historical elements were done well and the contemporary parts of the tale were woven in seamlessly.
Where I got it: author provided the copy.
Cover rating: B
I like the cover. But while it is above average, it would not necessarily grab my attention in a shelf full of books and scream "buy me!". There is a subtle beauty though.
MPRS: PG-13 (some violence)